It is a tremendous honor to be a recipient of the Presidential Award. This award is a tribute to the amazing educators that have supported and played a role in shaping my beliefs about mathematics education. Without their encouragement and support, I would not be the educator I am today. This award is also a recognition of the role my students have played in my growth as an educator. As I have given students a voice in my classroom, I have been inspired by their remarkable insights.

Orson Spencer Nephi, UT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Orson “Mike” Spencer has been an educator for 12 years. He spent his first year teaching at American Leadership Academy and has spent the last ten years teaching mathematics at Juab High School. Mike is currently serving as the Mathematics Department Head at Juab High School where he teaches 11-12th-grade Calculus, Statistics, College Algebra, and Secondary III Mathematics. Mike has always enjoyed the challenge of mathematics and knew that teaching mathematics was a field that he could be passionate about from a young age. As a father, Mike has developed a deeper passion for engaging students in mathematics as he watched the experiences that his own children had with the subject. He believes students learn best when engaged in mathematical discourse and has worked to develop a classroom culture that promotes mathematical discourse where students are engaged in constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. Mike has facilitated workshops for the State of Utah and is a facilitator for the Mathematics Vision Project. He has presented sessions at Utah Council of Mathematics conferences and for the Utah State Board of Education. Mike is the high school representative for the Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Mike earned a B.S. in mathematics and a M.Ed. from Utah State University. He is certified to teach in secondary mathematics.