Three Gwinnett science teachers earn state, national honors

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Three Gwinnett County science teachers have earned accolades from state and national organizations.

Robert Chase of Twin Rivers Middle School received the Maitland P. Simmons Award for Outstanding New Science Teacher from the National Science Teachers Association. Additionally, Joey Nunn of Twin Rivers Middle was named the 2010 Georgia Middle School Science Teacher of the Year and Joe Cox of Brookwood High was named the 2010 Georgia High School Science Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Science Teachers Association.

"The organizations have selected some of the finest educators in our district (for the awards)," said Mary Elizabeth Davis, Gwinnett County Public Schools' director of science. "We're obviously quite proud of them and proud of the work they do in the classroom every day."

Davis said the three are model teachers who are an inspiration to their students as well as the educational community.

"(The awards are) a reflection of the role that science education is playing in the growth and development of our community," Davis said. "It's a reflection of our recognition that science education is a top priority and students must be achieving at high levels."

Cox and Nunn will receive their awards today at the Georgia Science Teachers Association's annual conference in Savannah, Davis said.

Nunn, a former Gwinnett County Public Schools Teacher of the Year finalist, joined the school system in 2004 as an earth and physical science teacher at Osborne Middle. He became part of the inaugural staff at Twin Rivers Middle in 2009.

A teacher who also loves learning, Nunn holds a bachelor's degree and four master's degrees. He's currently working on his specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

Cox has taught in Gwinnett County for 13 years, with his last five at Brookwood High. He currently teaches Advanced Placement Physics and serves as co-chairman of the science department.

His work has earned him national recognition, including the 2009 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement for Teachers. Earlier this school year, Cox was named a Gwinnett County Public Schools Teacher of the Year finalist.

Cox has earned two undergraduate degrees, a master's degree from the University of Georgia, and a specialist's degree from Georgia State University.

Chase, an eighth-grade science teacher, will be formally recognized by the National Science Teachers Association during the organization's annual conference set for March 18 to 21 in Philadelphia.

Chase joined Gwinnett County Public Schools in 2008 at Dacula Middle School. In 2009, he helped open Twin Rivers Middle. He has a bachelor's degree in science from Gannon University.