Receiving the Presidential Award is a recognition of the passion I have for education and for all my students to provide them with an exceptional learning environment that helps them realize their inherent potential to create and accomplish marvelous things. This award is also a symbol of the incredible support and guidance I have had from my family, colleagues, students, and the great teachers I have had in my life. Without them, this incredible recognition would not be possible.

Jose Rivas Lennox, CA | 7-12, Science, 2017

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

Jose Octavio Rivas left the engineering field 16 years ago to become an educator. After teaching high school physics for two years in Los Angeles, he moved back to his hometown to teach physics and engineering to grades 10–12 at Lennox Mathematics, Science, and Technology Academy. His minds-on approach to instruction has led his students to build 16-foot solar boats and compete at the Solar Cup in Temecula, CA.; study terminal velocity through indoor skydiving; explore the physics of martial arts; and engineer beetle bots that can sense their environment. Jose’s commitment and enthusiasm for teaching science and engineering has inspired many students to become college-bound and pursue related careers. Jose has served on many advisory boards including Infiniscope and the National Academy of Sciences’ Teacher Advisory Council. Internationally, Jose worked in Tokyo with the Tomodachi Toshiba Science Leadership Academy. At his school, he is department chair and is on the Universal Design for Learning Implementation Team. He is a Science Friday Educator Collaborator for a national radio program. Jose received the Shell Science Teaching Award in 2015 and the Northrop Excellence in Engineering Education Award in 2016. Jose earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering, a M.Ed in secondary education, and is a certified transformational teacher leader from Loyola Marymount University.