Phil Mickelson’s storybook finish to win the British Open on Sunday will go down in the annals of golf. But that’s not the only big news going on in his world this week.
This coming Friday, Phil will be at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, to attend the closing ceremony for the 2013 National Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and to give words of encouragement to the 200 teachers from all 50 states making up this year’s class.
These outstanding educators were chosen to attend the weeklong, all-expense-paid, professional development program after nominations were submitted via sendmyteacher.com.
Since ExxonMobil teamed up with Phil and Amy Mickelson in 2005 to found the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, we have helped train nearly 4,000 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers in how to best engage students in math and science. Those teachers have influenced more than 230,000 students.
The program means a lot to Phil and Amy, who have three school-age children themselves. Believing that all children should share the same enthusiasm for math and science that their own kids display is part of what led them to partner with ExxonMobil on an initiative to help teachers pass along the fun of these topics to their students.
And it means a lot to ExxonMobil as well. As a technology leader with more than 18,000 scientists and engineers, including 2,000 Ph.Ds, in our ranks, we know that improving educational outcomes in the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – is critical for maintaining our nation’s economic competitiveness. We also see improving STEM education as a key part of expanding individual opportunity for children from every kind of background.
American students ranked 25th in math and 17th in science in the most recent international testing. But research shows that the best way to improve students’ performance is to ensure top quality teachers in the classroom. Nothing inspires students to succeed more than effective teachers, and the Mickelson Academy is giving teachers the tools and techniques to light the fire of learning in the classroom.
I don’t know if Phil will bring the Claret Jug with him when he visits with this year’s crop of teachers at the Academy closing session on Friday. But I do know that he will bring the same passion for math and science education that has served the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy so well for eight years.
I encourage you to tune in to NBC’s Today Show Friday morning, where Phil is scheduled to appear before his visit to the Academy. Later he will head to Wall Street with a few selected participants from the Academy to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
All in all, not a bad week for Lefty, nor, for that matter, for the graduates of this year’s Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy.