National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) recognizes top 10 educators of the year

Date: Monday, December 5, 2016

ATLANTA — Last Saturday, Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prize and chairman of NSHSS, honored 10 teachers from across the country as Claes Nobel Educators of the Year at The Carter Center in Atlanta. The Top Educator of the Year, Brian Rodriguez, was awarded $5,000 to further his professional and educational goals. The nine other honorees received $500 grants.

The Educators of the Year distinction recognizes 10 educators each year who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success. Since NSHSS established the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, the organization has recognized more than 38,000 educators around the globe. This year’s 10 recipients were selected out of 48 nominees.

The top 10 2016 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year:

2016 Top Educator of the Year Brian Rodriguez
History teacher and department head
Alameda Science & Technology Institute — Alameda, California

Mr. Rodriguez is a two-time Alameda Unified School District Teacher of the Year and was recently named the 2016 Gilder-Lehrman California United States History Teacher of the Year.

Thelvie Cullins, Jr.
AP calculus teacher
School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Magnet Center — Dallas, Texas

Mr. Cullins is a three-time recipient of the Dallas Education Foundation Principals’ Scholars/Teachers Recognition. He was named Teacher of the Year in 2013 and received the Innovations in STEM Teaching Award in 2014.

Antonios Ekatomatis
Science teacher
Montgomery Blair High School — Silver Spring, Maryland

Mr. Ekatomatis is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health Kelly Government Contractor Quality of Work Award and ETS Recognition of Excellence — Praxis II Chemistry Content Knowledge.

Jessie Good
Science teacher and department co-chair
Kohler High School — Kohler, Wisconsin

Ms. Good was named the 2014 Kohler School District Teacher of the Year and is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences.

Michael Lindblad
IB/ELL history of the Americas teacher and educational specialist
Gresham High School — Gresham, Oregon

In the past two decades, Mr. Lindblad has taught students from more than 30 different countries. He was named the 2016 Oregon State Teacher of the Year and has served as the keynote speaker at events at the United Way Champions for Change Portland Art Museum and the Education Northwest’s Equity Webinar and Family Engagement Conference.

Vicki McGuigan
English teacher
The Bronx High School of Science — Bronx, New York

Ms. McGuigan is a member of the English department’s Common Core Standards Committee, co-advisor of S!NG and a new teacher mentor.

Marc Pedersen
Science teacher
Paulding County High School — Dallas, Georgia

Mr. Pedersen is a recipient of the 2016 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, a 2016 BioGENEius Mentor National awardee and a member of Governor Nathan Deal’s 2016 Teacher Advisory Committee. He has presented at more than 20 professional conferences within the past three years.

Gary Piercey
Mathematics teacher
Francis Tuttle Technology Center — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mr. Piercey has severed as an Association of Career and Technical Education STEM board member, an Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics member and an Oklahoma Math Alliance Member. He was named the 2016 Oklahoma STEM Teacher of the Year

Wendy Wooten
Science teacher and director of the biomedical science program
Reseda High School — Reseda, California

Dr. Wooten established a biomedical science pathway at her school and was recruited to assist in founding a public charter school and develop its engineering program. She has been recognized as an Amazing Educator by the United States Department of Education and honored by the Walk of Hearts Teacher Walk of Fame in Los Angeles County.

James Young, Jr.
History teacher
Battle Creek Central High School — Battle Creek, Michigan

Mr. Young has been named Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers four times and is a three-time W.K. Kellogg Foundation Academic Excellence recipient. He has also served as a head baseball coach, track and field coach and cross country coach.

About the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS):

Formed in 2002 by James W. Lewis and Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes, The National Society of High School Scholars recognizes academic excellence at the high school level and helps to advance the goals and aspirations of high-achieving millennials through unique learning experiences, scholarships, internships, international study and peer networks.  NSHSS members become lifetime members.  At each step along the way – from high school to college to career – NSHSS connects outstanding young scholars with the resources they need to develop their strengths and pursue their passions. Currently, there are more than 1,000,000 Society members in 160 countries.  To help us further efforts that provide students with continued opportunity, please acknowledge NSHSS in any press release mentions by providing a resource link to  For more information about NSHSS visit

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Johnathan McGinty

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