The National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently honored one of our physics alumni, Dean Baird, with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

“Successful classroom teachers are rewarded on a regular basis for their students’ achievements,” said Mr. Baird, “The Presidential Award is the highest form of recognition a science instructor can earn from top-tier experts in science and education. …I am lucky to have a career doing what I love to do. This award is a unique honor that compels me to do better in the years to come.”

He gives special recognition to his mentor and Physics instructor Professor David Gidley, “Thanks so much for being a bright point in my physics education.”

Mr. Baird, who graduated from Michigan in 1986, has taught Physics and Advanced Placement Physics for more than 25 years at Rio Americano High School, where he also taught Pre-Algebra, Physical Science, and Newspaper. He has an impressive list of accomplishments such as the design and implementation of a successful school-wide ad campaign to increase enrollment in physics. Colleagues around the world access Dean’s unique curriculum materials via the website he established in the 1990s. He also shares ideas and analysis of physics teaching issues on his blog, where his whimsical collection of scientist valentines went viral. The American Association of Physics Teachers at the state and national levels has also recognized Dean, where he has presented novel demonstrations and conducted engaging workshops.