OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Two Bay Area teachers are on the list of 2012 California State Finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced this week.

Sara Teresa Norris, the head primary teacher at Oakland’s Mills College Children’s School is nominated in the math category and Alma Suney Park, who teaches sixth grade at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, is a science nominee, according to Torlakson’s office.

“I congratulate these remarkably talented teachers who are among the most creative and effective in California,” said Torlakson, himself a science teacher on leave from Mount Diablo Unified School District in Contra Costa County. “Math and science educators are essential to the future success of students and the future of our state. I greatly appreciate their efforts to make these subjects exciting and inspiring.

The state department of education partnered with the California Mathematics Council and the California Science Teachers Association to recruit and select Park, Norris and several other nominees.

Each teacher applicant had to submit a 45-minute video lesson demonstrating their mastery of math or science as well as their effective use of teaching methods and strategies while showing leadership in education outside of the classroom, according to the education department.

Education officials said Norris, who formerly taught in a Spanish bilingual classroom in San Leandro and mentors college students, used regrouping strategies within addition in her video entry.

Park, who holds teaching credentials from Illinois, California and Michigan, and who has worked with the Teaching Channel to create demonstration lessons, featured an investigation on climate change in her video lesson.

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