The Presidential Award is a tremendous honor and evidence of the value placed on STEM education and novel approaches in the classroom. Above all, being an awardee is a testament to the incredible and talented students I have taught and the amazing colleagues I have had the opportunity to work with. This unique opportunity affords me the privilege of being able to continue to grow and improve my instruction through the collaboration and the collective wisdom that this group of awardees will share.

James Schafer Silver Spring, MD | 7-12, Science, 2013

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

James Schafer has taught physics at Montgomery Blair High School for 13 years. He currently teaches magnet freshman Physics, 11th-12th grade Advanced Placement Physics, and 11th-12th grade Quantum Physics. He has also taught electives as part of Blair’s Math, Science and Computer Science Magnet. James has developed, modified, and updated curriculum for unique courses such as Thermodynamics and Quantum Physics. Creating an environment filled with inquiry and built on cooperative learning is common in James’ classrooms. He believes students should take ownership of their learning and should be afforded opportunities to be leaders in the classroom and teach and learn from each other. James sponsors the school’s physics and quiz bowl teams and is a founding member and organizer of Puzzlepalooza, an annual puzzle competition. James encourages students to become engaged with STEM thorough his efforts with Final Frontiers, a competition focused on exploration and design related to space. James was a member of a National Research Council group on a publication by the National Academies Press focusing on undergraduate physics education. James has a B.S. in physics and applied mathematics from the College of William and Mary and a M.S. in administration and supervision from Johns Hopkins University. He holds National Board Certification in physics. He is certified to teach physics and math.

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