Teacher earns presidential award

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

KANNAPOLIS — A Kannapolis native and A.L. Brown High School graduate will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., this week.
Zebetta King is one of 85 teachers across the nation, and one of two in North Carolina, selected for the award this year. The teachers will meet President Obama during the ceremony.
King, who teaches in the Wake County School System, won in the science teaching category.
King has taught for 19 years and was at Swift Creek Elementary School when she was nominated last year. She now works as a senior administrator for elementary school science.
The award is the highest a math or science teacher can receive in the U.S. Winners are selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators, and each receives $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion.
In addition to the awards ceremony, the teachers will spend several days in Washington for educational and celebratory events, and they will meet members of Congress and the Obama administration.
King is the daughter of Maxine King of Kannapolis and the late Zeb Vance King Jr. She graduated from A.L. Brown in 1978. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida, a master’s in special education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and advanced certification for curriculum development and supervision from N.C. State University, where she is now pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.
King spent the last three years teaching fourth- and fifth-grade academically gifted students at Swift Creek Elementary before accepting the administrative position with Wake County schools.
She has served on the Wake County Elementary Science Steering Committee and led in developing curriculum documents to supplement the N.C. Science Standard Course of Study. She has presented professional development trainings at national, regional and local science education leadership institutes and conferences.
She was awarded the Kenan Fellowship for Curriculum and Leadership Development 2005 and the N.C. Science Teacher Association District Three Elementary School Outstanding Science Teacher Award in 2008.
“Each year, the bright-eyed enthusiasm of my students has remained an ever-fresh inspiration to create a respectful, nurturing, challenging learning environment,” King said in a press release on the awards website. “My rewards, in turn, have been the privilege to watch their natural curiosity unfold, passion for science ignite, and ability to think critically flower; as important has been the generous support of mentors, colleagues, and family.”
The other North Carolina teacher receiving the award this year is Amanda Northrup, who teaches fifth-grade math in of Haywood County Schools.