Durham teacher wins Burroughs Wellcome award

Posted March 3, 2010 12:21 p.m. EST

— A mathematics teacher at Hillside New Tech High School, is one of five North Carolina teachers to win the prestigious Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, officials said Wednesday.

Matthew Sears will receive $175,000 over five years, as well as $10,000 per year to use at his discretion for professional development activities, travel and registration to meetings or conferences, hiring substitutes, networking with colleagues or capacity building opportunities at Hillside High or Durham Public Schools.

Sears, who is in his third year of teaching at the high school, will also have $10,000 per year to purchase needed equipment and supplies.

The 2008 Durham Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Sears also participates in Kenan Fellows, a teaching leadership program at North Carolina State University, spent a semester in 2008 teaching in India as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher.

“Matt Sears is the kind of teacher every student wishes he or she could have," Hank Hurd, interim superintendent of Durham Public Schools, said in a statement. "His expertise in his field, combined with his true passion for education and compassion for his students, makes Matt the consummate educator.”

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund selected winners from a nominated pool of applicants and interviews by the program’s advisory committee.The award honors public primary and secondary teachers in North Carolina who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children.