In the middle of Alisa Mook Burns’s IB Calculus class Friday, May 21, the Virginia Lottery surprised her with a “Super Teacher” award – one of eight statewide selected from over 1,200 entries. They also gave her a $2,000 cash prize and a $2,000 classroom credit from the Supply Room Companies.
The prize-awarding entourage included members of her family, school administration, and the media. Her parents, Rex and Kay Mook, were there, too.
Her father, Rex, read from the nomination letter that he wrote:
“To keep interest levels high and to stimulate learning, she conducts a year-round math spirit competition in her classes. She also takes on the person of “Math Superhero” during the five-day school-wide spirit event. She also held a “Math Rap Challenge,” where she and a student composed a rap song in which the lyrics were math rules, principles, and formulas.”
“I’d received an email talking about the program,” he said. “It looked like something that would be relevant to Alisa’s hard work.” She routinely works 45 hours at school plus an extra 20-25 each week, he said.
“I learned that first year by going full strength that if you show the kids how much you care, they really work hard for you,” said a very overwhelmed Alisa.
She graduated from Salem High School in 2002, from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s in Mathematics in 2006, and she earned her Master’s in Education from Wake Forest in 2007.