Roberta Rohan is one of 50 teachers nationally to receive the award
Contact: Laurie Hogan (336) 370-8307
Created: 2/18/2010 3:46:13 PM
Ask Roberta Rohan about being a math teacher and she
lights up. She talks about her students and the math-related careers
they pursue. She explains why a strong math foundation is important. And
she gives all of the credit for her success to her students and
colleagues. It is clear she is an excellent teacher. Rohan, a teacher at
Grimsley High, received the prestigious Siemens Award for Advanced
Placement, the Siemens Foundation announced today. She is one of 50
teachers nationwide and the only teacher from North Carolina to receive
Selection for the Siemens award is based on excellence in
teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses as
measured by student performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The
organization selects one teacher per state and awards a $1,000 grant to
the teacher's school to support science and math education. Rohan has
taught at Grimsley since 1996 and is in her 17th year of teaching in
Guilford County Schools. She currently teaches Algebra I, AP Calculus
AB, AP Calculus BC and IB Higher Level Math. Before becoming a teacher,
she worked in finance for GE for four years. "Having industry experience
made me more comfortable going into teaching," Rohan said.
Rohan is also a Grimsley graduate. She developed an
interest in teaching during high school and was influenced by her math
teacher, Larry Saunders. She is passing a love for teaching on to her
students as well. At least four former students have become math
teachers. Others are engineers. She also remembers getting a phone call
from a former student who was presenting at the World Physics Conference
in Switzerland. Her students' consistent performance on the AP Calculus
AB and Calculus BC exams are a large part of her Siemens award. Last
year, about 79 percent of her Calculus AB students passed the AP exam.
This compares to a national passage rate of about 60 percent on the
exam. The performance of her Calculus BC students is even more
impressive. Last year, 100 percent passed the exam and more than half of
her students earned the top score of 5.
Principal Anna Brady describes Rohan as a
compassionate and passionate teacher who does not give up on her
students and takes it personally when they do not master the course
content. "She has high expectations for all of her students, and she
demands that they have those same high expectations for themselves,"
Brady said. Brady added that Rohan is an important leader in the school.
In addition to teaching three math courses, she is the chair of the
math department and the school's leadership team. She takes her many
responsibilities seriously and encourages everyone at the school,
including other teachers and her students, to be winners.
"She encourages critical thinking, creativity,
real-world problem solving, and finds ways to bring relevance to the
curriculum while making learning enjoyable and interesting." Rohan gives
all the credit for the award to her students and the entire team of
math teachers at Grimsley. "This award is a testament to the great math
teachers our students have had along the way," she said.
One reason Grimsley's students are so successful on
AP math exams, Rohan says, is that a strong math foundation is built
starting in the ninth grade. Through a cooperative process known as
vertical teaming, math teachers at all grade levels work together to
make sure students are prepared for higher level math courses. Rohan
adds that preparation for college-level math during high school is
especially important for students considering careers in math and
science fields. She loves to hear her former students say, "College is
"It is a pleasure to teach these students," she said. "It is their hard work that earned this award."