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Erik Von Burg wins Presidential Award

The Gifted and Talented department specialist has been named one of the nation's top STEM educators.

Photo of Erik Von BurgErik Von Burg has won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The Gifted and Talented department specialist was named a finalist in 2016.

Von Burg receives a citation signed by President Donald Trump, $10,000 award and trip to Washington, D.C.

"On behalf of the White House I am honored to express the nation's gratitude for the tireless dedication that these men and women bring to educating the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians," says Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for technology policy. "Each day more and more jobs require a strong foundation in STEM education, so the work that you do as teachers and mentors helps ensure that all students can have access to limitless opportunities and the brightest of futures."

Awardees are recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Science Foundation for excellence in teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award K-12 mathematics and science educators can receive from the U.S. government. After a rigorous application process, nominees are assessed by a panel of state and national mathematicians, scientists and educators.

Von Burg is in his 18th year in education. He previously taught sixth grade and Gifted and Talented at Johnson and MacArthur elementary schools, and an introduction to engineering class at Carson Junior High School.

"Erik is a phenomenal educator and true innovator," says Dr. Andi Fourlis, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. "From his time in the classroom to his leadership of our Gifted and Talented program, his focus is always on how to inspire students to think and make sense of their ever-changing world. I am honored to work and learn alongside him and thrilled that he has earned national acclaim for his impactful work."

Von Burg is a product of Mesa Public Schools. He attended MacArthur Elementary School, Kino Junior High School and Mountain View High School.

"The Presidential Award validates my work in education and affirms the need for thinking-based authentic investigations as a cornerstone for curriculum," Von Burg says. "But, more importantly, it serves as a personal clarion call to reject complacency and redouble my efforts in providing the best educational opportunities for all students. I am deeply humbled by this honor because I know that without the countless instances of support and sacrifice by my family and colleagues, I would not be in this situation."

(Photo by Tim Hacker/Mesa Public Schools)


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