Deer Valley High math teacher, Maria McClain honored for excellence by President Obama


Maria McClain, math teacher, Deer Valley High School, Antioch Unified School District

Maria McClain, math teacher at Deer Valley High School in Antioch

Deer Valley High School math teacher Maria McClain, was honored, recently by President Obama with one of the annual Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). It is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year. Since 1983, more than 4,400 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

Presidential Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Presidential Award as recognition of the commitment of mathematics teachers in providing rigorous and relevant curriculum that guarantees equity and access for all students. This award provides me the opportunity and responsibility to continue to advocate for changes in expectations and practices that will increase student engagement and achievement. Receiving this award ensures that my voice will be heard as I continue this work on behalf of all students.

Maria McClain has been teaching mathematics for the past 28 years, the last 20 of which have been at Deer Valley High School, where she currently teaches Mastering Algebra I, Precalculus, Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB, and AP Statistics.

Maria believes in creating a classroom environment which supports and challenges students through the use of instructional strategies designed to promote exploration, critical thinking, and discourse. In her role as Mathematics Department Chair, she supports the transition to the Common Core by facilitating professional development and collaboration opportunities for teachers. She is dedicated to providing access for all students and has worked extensively to eliminate barriers that prevent students from enrolling and achieving in higher level coursework.

Maria has served as a District Mentor Teacher for the past 16 years and is the Lead Teacher of a California Academic Partnership Program grant designed to implement the Common Core and create a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education. Her awards include Antioch Unified School District and Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year for 2015-16, and California Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist for 2016. She is National Board Certified in adolescent and young adulthood mathematics.

Maria earned a B.A. in mathematics from California State University, Sacramento. She is certified to teach preK–12 and adult mathematics.

For more information about PAEMST, visit

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One Comment to “Deer Valley High math teacher, Maria McClain honored for excellence by President Obama”

  1. Dave S says:

    My daughter, Elizabeth, had her several years ago, and can’t speak more highly of her! Congrats, Ms McClain!

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