It is a great honor to receive the Presidential Award. This recognition serves as a progress report that validates the work I have done in the classroom, but more importantly, it motivates me to continue improving my craft as a teacher. The award also reminds me of the wonderful mentors and colleagues that have helped shape me as a teacher. I would not have been qualified to receive the Presidential Award without their support and collaboration.
Juan Botella has been teaching science for 11 years at Monona Grove High School. Currently, he teaches Advanced Placement Physics, Physics, Astronomy, and Climate and Weather.
Juan uses scientific modeling aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards to engage students in scientific inquiry. His students apply problem solving skills to uncover the rules that govern their world.
Engagement with research inspires students’ imagination. Juan brings current research to his classroom, drawing on his participation in scientific expeditions. He spent three months on an Antarctic oceanographic vessel as a PolarTREC teacher in 2011, traveled to Chilean Patagonia with three high school students in 2014, and is scheduled for a South Pole deployment in 2017 with the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center. While away from the classroom, Juan keeps a blog to connect students to adventure and discovery. Upon return, he uses these experiences to enrich his classroom lessons.
Juan holds a B.S. in oceanography from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, México, a M.S. in physical oceanography from Centro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de Ensenada, México, and a M.S. in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His teaching certifications are for high school physics and earth science.