The Presidential Award affirms that I am on the right path in my journey as an educator. Both the process of applying and the honor of being chosen have helped me step back from my vocation and confidently see the impact that my teaching is having. I feel more willing now to take risks in the classroom and further challenge my students. I am grateful that this award exists to recognize and elevate the work that so many of us do to share the joys of science and mathematics with young people.
Michael (Mike) Mangiaracina has been an educator for 21 years. For seven years, he has taught kindergarten through fifth grade science and sixth grade mathematics at Brent Elementary School. Previously, Mike taught at Sidwell Friends School and Thornton Friends School.
Mike sees science as central to education. A scientist’s ability to question his or her own ideas in the face of evidence, and to seek truths in favor of biased examples, are essential skills for all active citizens. Mike seeks to use his science classes to nurture his students’ abilities to ask questions and support their claims with evidence, while fostering a sense of reverence and awe for natural phenomena.
Mike has run Brent Elementary’s annual Math Night, Science Museum Night, and New Year’s Bird Count for Kids. He works with a cohort of science teachers to provide mentoring and professional development for classroom teachers in D.C. Public Schools. He worked on the early stages of Next Generation Science Standards implementation in Washington, D.C., with the Science Educators Leadership Cadre. In December, "Science and Children" will publish an article he wrote on his experiences with this implementation.
Mike received a B.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and a M.Ed. in elementary education from George Washington University. He is certified in elementary teaching.