Obama to honor four Bay Area locals

Four Bay Area science and math educators will be honored tomorrow by President Barack Obama at the White House.

Castro Valley Unified School District elementary school science teacher Charles Sagory Reynes, 48, is among 87 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist Kennedy J. Reed, Stanford University Chemistry Professor Richard N. Zare, and San Francisco State University Biology Professor Frank T. Bayliss Jr. are among 22 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

“The teachers and mentors from across the country who will be recognized at the White House for excellence in mathematics and science teaching are helping reach the President’s goal of moving American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade,” White House spokesman Adam Abrams said.

These awards, announced last July, are being presented tomorrow as President Obama holds his second “Educate to Innovate” event, at which he’ll also announce new partnerships with companies, foundations, nonprofits and educational organizations and institutions to help reach the Administration’s math and science education goals.

Lots more on the Bay Area honorees, after the jump…

Reynes, 48, of Castro Valley, leads 50-minute sessions with fourth- and fifth-grade students at several schools in Castro Valley, where he has taught for more than a decade. Trained in Business Administration at the University of San Francisco, Reynes worked as an accountant before switching careers in 1985 and completing a Multiple Subject Credential at the California State University, East Bay. He taught first at schools in the Archdiocese of Oakland, and then at the New Haven Unified School District from 1987 to 1999. He was named Alameda County Teacher of the Year in 2006 and one of five California Teachers of the Year in 2007. Check him out:

Kennedy_Reed_bigReed, 65, of Livermore, is a theoretical physicist at LLNL researching atomic collisions in high temperature plasmas, and has been a national leader in efforts to increase opportunities for minority students and professionals in the sciences. He created and directed the Lab’s Research Collaborations Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions, which links Lab scientists with professors and students in cutting-edge research benefiting the Lab and universities. He also played a key role in creating the National Physical Science Consortium, a national coalition of corporations, national laboratories and universities that provide graduate fellowships for women and minorities in the physical sciences.

Richard ZareZare, 70, of Stanford, is the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University, renowned for his research in laser chemistry bringing about a greater understanding of chemical reactions at the molecular level. He has received a slew of teaching awards from the university and from national organizations, and in 2006 was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor to develop new interdisciplinary undergraduate science laboratory courses. Students and teaching assistants have praised Zare’s talent for explaining complex theory in a simple way.

Frank BaylissBayliss, of San Mateo, is a professor of molecular and cell biology and the founder and director of SFSU’s Student Enrichment Opportunities Office, which provides students with financial support and science mentoring; he personally mentors scores of students. The SEO has yielded significant results including higher retention and academic achievement of underrepresented minorities in the sciences. From 1984 to 2003, only one minority SFSU undergraduate went on to complete a doctorate in the sciences; from 2004 to 2007, 21 underrepresented minorities completed doctorates in the sciences, with another 73 expected to complete doctorates in the next five years.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.