President Obama to Honor CIU Alumnus

January 02, 2014

A 1992 alumnus of Columbia International University is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Don Sarazen, a math teacher who graduated from CIU with a master’s degree in Teaching and a Certificate in Biblical Studies, is among 102 mathematics and science teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense Education Activity to be to be recognized. The annual award honors outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers who are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.

Sarazen has been a public school elementary teacher for 20 years, mostly in the Columbia, S.C. area. In addition, he taught for two years in Chengdu, China, with International Schools of China.

Sarazen, who teaches with the belief that if no learning has occurred, then no teaching has taken place, says he is humbled and honored to receive the Presidential Award.  

“It serves as a reminder to me that God and others are responsible for the achievements in my life,” Sarazen said. “So, in a larger sense I represent the educators I have worked with and students I have taught. This award encourages me to teach with renewed purpose, to accept new challenges, and to serve my colleagues to the best of my ability.”

Sarazen also conducts district professional development presentations and has written an article on teaching fractions published in "Teaching Children Mathematics."

Winners of the Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. They are also invited to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony to be held later this year that will include several days of educational and celebratory events and visits with members of Congress and the Obama Administration.

Sarazen also serves his alma mater as the president of the CIU Alumni Association Leadership Council (AALC).

The Columbia media has reported on Sarazen's award:


The State


Columbia Daily