UMM Graduate Kenneth Vencile '92 Earns Presidential Award
(National Science Foundation photo)
MACHIAS, Maine – Kenneth Vencile, a biology teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School and 1992 graduate of the University of Maine at Machias, is receiving the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Vencile is one of 97 math and science teachers from throughout the nation, and the only one from Maine, receiving the honor.
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process performed at the state level.
Vencile will receive his award later this month in Washington, DC, during a three-day recognition program that will include educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration. Recipients will also receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion.
In announcing the recipients, President Obama said, “America’s success in the 21st century depends on our ability to educate our children, give our workers the skills they need, and embrace technological change. That starts with the men and women in front of our classrooms. These teachers are the best of the best, and they stand as excellent examples of the kind of leadership we need in order to train the next generation of innovators and help this country get ahead.”
Vencile has taught Honors and Advanced Placement biology at Camden Hills Regional High School for the past 7 years. He spent the previous 7 years teaching at Georges Valley High School in Thomaston.
“It is humbling to receive an award that affirms my dedication to instructional excellence,” said Vencile about the honor. “It is also a privilege to join a group of awardees who consistently demonstrate effective, innovative, and passionate instruction. I have been lucky to work with dedicated and reflective science instructors, and even more fortunate to share my energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge with students who are willing to take risks, be spirited, think critically, and dedicate themselves to hard work.”
Vencile’s teaching extends beyond the walls of a classroom. He has established an immersive course in tropical marine ecology in which students conduct independent primary investigations. He also collaborates with the University of Maine at Machias to offer students advanced field research experiences, and has initiated a school-business partnership with Maine Medical Center to bring applied science content to his students.
Vencile received his bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Maine at Machias and his master’s degree in marine resources from the University of Maine.