Receiving the Presidential Award is truly a humbling experience as I am privileged to be honored among some of the greatest educators in the nation. This award is truly a testament of all the hard work and dedication that I have put into this profession, and a reflection of all the support I have received from my family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and students. The award also challenges me to continue instilling the importance of learning mathematics into young minds that enter my classroom.

Richard Carlos Velasco Yigo, GU | K-6, Mathematics, 2014

Richard Carlos Velasco currently works as a secondary math teacher at Pullman High School and Lincoln Middle School. Previously, he taught general and accelerated mathematics to sixth graders at F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School for more than eight years and developmental mathematics as an adjunct instructor at the University of Guam for five semesters. As a proponent of STEM education, Richard utilizes the constructivist approach in his classroom, providing hands-on activities to keep his students engaged and interested in learning mathematics. He encourages student dialogue for mathematical understanding and incorporates the use of technology in his lessons. In addition to his various leadership roles, he also leads the mathematics department at his school and has organized their Family Mathematics Night for three of the past four years. Outside the classroom, Richard has been a part of a team of teachers that facilitates training to other elementary and middle school mathematics teachers. He has also taught Praxis II mathematics courses to teachers in need of certification and has been chosen to be a scoring panelist for the Educational Testing Service on the Praxis II mathematics assessment.   Richard has a B.A. in mathematics and secondary education, magna cum laude, from the University of Guam, and received a M.A.T. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Saint Mary. He is currently certified to teach grades 6–12 mathematics.