Sand earns White House Presidential Award for mathematics teaching

Gregory Sand, Omaha Central High School, receives Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Sand earns White House Presidential Award for mathematics teaching

20 Sep 2016    

Gregory Sand, an Ed.D. student in Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been named a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Sand is in his 20th year of teaching mathematics, the last 14 at Central High School in Omaha Public Schools. He is advised in his doctoral program in the College of Education and Human Sciences by Stephen Swidler, associate professor.

“Winning the Presidential Award is not only a great honor, but a capstone to my career,” Sand told the National Science Foundation, who administers the program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Over the past 20 years I have aspired to be a teacher worthy of this type of recognition, and the support of co-workers, mentors, students and families have made it possible. An award such as this validates my classroom practice of developing student driven, inquiry-based education where the most important question has been transformed from, ‘What do I know?’ to ‘Why do I know this?’”

According to the award announcement, Sand provides students with the opportunity to learn mathematics through student-centered experiences. Students work in teams to discover and prove mathematical concepts while connecting them to prior learning. By placing the emphasis on student learning instead of teacher knowledge, he has a classroom that attempts to embrace the standards set out by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Outside of the classroom, Greg works with Central’s competitive Mathematics Team, leads district wide professional development activities focused on improving mathematics classroom instruction, and teaches for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln—working with both undergraduate and graduate students. He has recently completed a five-year term as a Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellow. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from Doane College, a M.S. in mathematics from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and is currently completing his doctoral work at Nebraska. He is a grade 7–12 certified mathematics teacher.


College of Education and Human Sciences
Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education