Alumni News

Matt Sears (M.A.T. ’04) receives Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers

Matt Sears, a mathematics teacher at Hillside New Tech High School in Durham, N.C., is one of five North Carolina teachers selected as the inaugural recipients of the Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers.

Presented by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the award will provide $175,000 over the next five years to the selected teachers. The North Carolina State Board of Education has provided salary support so that the teachers receive a 12-month contract. In addition, each selected teacher will receive $10,000 per year for professional development activities and $10,000 per year to purchase equipment and supplies for the classroom or school.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation that seeks to advance the sciences by supporting research and educational activities. This awards program is one of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s initiatives to strengthen science education.

Sears has taught at Hillside New Tech High School in Durham since it opened in 2007. He was the Teacher of the Year for Durham Public Schools in 2008, as well as the 2008 Golf Coach of the Year for the PAC-6 Conference. He was selected as a Kenan Fellow for 2006-2008 through N.C. State University and traveled to India in the fall of 2008 on the Fulbright exchange program.

Last fall, under Sears’ leadership, Hillside New Tech became the first North Carolina school to receive a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant. With this funding, he is leading a group of high school students and teachers in inventing and developing a “green” system for allowing plants to grow on sloped roofs, reducing storm water runoff and providing natural shade to homes.