PhysTEC Teacher of the Year

PhysTEC Teacher of the Year

Matthew Blackman
2019 National PhysTEC Teacher of the Year
See all previous awardees

The PhysTEC Teacher of the Year program recognizes outstanding high school physics educators who demonstrate the impact and value of physics teacher preparation programs. Each year, PhysTEC member institutions submit their recommendations to the selection committee—one National Teacher of the Year and several local teachers of the year are selected.

Nominations for Teacher of the Year are now closed. Please check back in Spring 2020.

2019 National Teacher of the Year Matthew Blackman

Matthew Blackman of Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey was named the 2019 PhysTEC National Teacher of the Year.

The selection committee noted his efforts to dramatically increase AP Physics enrollment and scores over his 10 years of teaching the subject. Specifically, he worked to improve the percentage of female students taking AP Physics, increasing it from under 20% to over 50%. 

Outside of Ridge High School, Blackman teaches graduate courses in the Physics Education master’s program at Rutgers University (of which he is an alumnus). He also launched a successful professional development summer workshop for physics teachers, which has grown from eight participants to over 20 per year.

In his spare time, Blackman is a self-taught coder and designer of video games; he has built five educational physics games to help students explore the concepts of kinematics, circuits, waves, and electrostatics. His 501c3 nonprofit, Universe and More, develops and distributes the games, which are free-of-charge to play (and always will be). The games have received millions of plays, and are used by teachers in all 50 states and over 60 countries.

Recently, Blackman was recognized by the New Jersey Senate with a Congressional Resolution honoring his achievements in the classroom, including the creation of educational games and coaching FIRST robotics. 

For these accomplishments and more, we applaud Matthew Blackman, PhysTEC’s 2019 National Teacher of the Year! To learn more, see the full press release.

2019 Local Teachers of the Year

Congratulations and thank you to our Local Teachers of the Year, who strengthen the physics community by cultivating scientific curiosity in young minds.

  • Aaron Curry
    Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School, Salisbury University
  • David Doty
    Cattaraugus-Little Valley High School, Buffalo State College
  • Julia Grimes
    Westlake High School, Brigham Young University
  • Chad Hobby
    Timber Creek High School, University of Central Florida
  • Kristin Kellar
    Talkington School for Young Women Leaders, Abilene Christian University
  • Donald Soper
    David H. Hickman High School, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Heather Stirewalt
    Whittier High School, California State University at Long Beach
  • Jamie Vargas
    Edison High School, California State University, Fresno

See all previous awardees

Additional Information: Contact phystec@aps.org.