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Kent Place Faculty Members Dr. Ralph Pantozzi and Cheryl Kaplun Receive Recognition from the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Kent Place is pleased to announce that two members of our Math Department have received honors bestowed by the U.S. government in mathematics and science teaching. Dr. Ralph Pantozzi, Chair of the Math Department, has been selected to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and Cheryl Kaplun, Middle School Math Teacher, has been named a New Jersey State Finalist for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The PAEMST program, administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding educators for their contributions to the teaching of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science. Dr. Pantozzi attended the award ceremony in Washington, D.C. this week, where the newest set of presidential awardees were recognized.
Mathematics education has been Dr. Pantozzi’s calling for more than 25 years. At Kent Place since 2011, he applies learning research to design lessons, curriculum resources, and programs that inspire creative mathematical thinking.

Winner of the 2014 Rosenthal Prize for Innovation in Math Teaching, he has worked to share inclusive and effective teaching practices through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and has collaborated on projects with Rutgers University, the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey, Key Curriculum Press, and the National Museum of Mathematics.

“This award is a recognition of my efforts to listen to my students’ ideas and questions, and translate their interests and goals into effective classroom instruction,” said Dr. Pantozzi. “As an awardee, I will collaborate with educators from around the country, and make contributions to state and national educational initiatives. I am looking forward to bringing what I will learn (and what I have already learned this week in Washington!) back to our students, teachers, and STEM programs at Kent Place.”

Ms. Kaplun joined the Kent Place faculty in 2014 and teaches seventh-grade math. A seventh-grade team leader, she was instrumental in the creation of the popular Money Matters Middle School elective and currently coordinates the Math Lab experience for seventh-grade students. Students emerge from her classroom enthusiastic about math because of her individualized approach.

“I am honored to be recognized as a 2019 finalist for the award,” said Ms. Kaplun. “Teaching middle school math is my passion, and I love being able to share that passion and inspire the middle school girls. My focus when teaching is to provide meaningful connections that make math relevant. I ask my students to notice, wonder, and take risks in order to stretch their thinking. Ultimately, I want them to feel empowered by the math they learn and confident in their abilities.”

“Kent Place is committed to educating students to be leaders and change agents in the world. Dr. Pantozzi and Ms. Kaplun are in the forefront in the field of mathematics teaching, and powerful models for our girls and young women, remarked Jennifer Galambos, Head of School. “On behalf of the Kent Place community, we would like to congratulate Dr. Pantozzi and Ms. Kaplun for their well-deserved recognition.

Our faculty are accomplished, creative individuals who are passionate about their fields of study and continually set high standards for curricular innovation. For more information about our academic program at Kent Place, please click here.
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.