The President's Award is a celebration of great teaching, which involves far more than a transfer of knowledge. Teachers transform lives by inspiring and equipping students as lifelong learners. I am grateful for the many educators who have invested in my teaching practice as well as for the colleagues and families that work beside me each day. This honor is also a testimony to the great effort of the students under my guidance who work diligently to grow in their mathematics understanding.
Andrew (Andy) Kotko has been an educator for 14 years, teaching first grade at Mather Heights Elementary School for the past five years. He is a founding teacher of the Folsom Cordova Academy for Advanced Learning, a public magnet school focused on inquiry and project-based learning.
Andy enjoys developing and sharing activities that incorporate depth and complexity into the fundamentals of mathematics. By affirming exploration and risk-taking, Andy instills a foundation of critical thinking and problem solving in his students. He shares his passion for teaching through district workshops as well as conferences with the California Math Council.
Andy is Chair of the California Teacher Advisory Council, an organization that provides teacher expertise to policymakers and others whose decisions affect the quality of science and mathematics education in California. In 2014, Andy was invited to Washington, D.C., to speak to Congress about improving university-level teacher training. Andy’s enthusiasm for education has also led him overseas; he has ventured to India to train local teachers and to the Nicaraguan jungle to help construct a school.
Andy earned a B.A. in physics from California State University, Sacramento. He is certified as an elementary teacher and to teach mathematics and physics through 12th grade. Andy is a National Board Certified Teacher.