She said she tries to bring that sense of wonder and curiosity to her students. “I think they pretty much know that almost every day we will do some kind of activity,” she said. “We are making motors run, we are building machines, we are observing animals.” Established by Congress in 1983, the annual Presidential Award recognizes math and science teachers from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories and U.S. Department of Defense schools. “These teachers exemplify what President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative aims to achieve by raising the bar for math and science education for all students, who are America’s future leaders of innovation,” said John H. Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology. [email protected] (818) 713-3664160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALLEY GLEN – Science teacher Anne Marie Wotkyns got to experience firsthand the wonder she tries to instill in her students when she met Friday with President George W. Bush after receiving the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence. The third- and fourth-grade teacher at Monlux Math, Science, Technology Magnet learned late Thursday that she’d been tapped for the honor after spending nearly a week in Washington, D.C., where she’d been invited as one of hundreds of nominees. “I am overwhelmed,” Wotkyns said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. “We spent the day at the National Science Foundation. We had a formal dinner at the State Department inside the Ben Franklin Room, then we had a photo session with the president and first lady and we got to go out on the White House balcony.” Wotkyns said she was surprised by how comfortable her hosts made her feel. “They were both very down to earth, almost like people you would meet every day,” Wotkyns said. “(Laura Bush) was absolutely charming and beautiful. The president came in and made a joke and made us laugh.” Wotkyns was one of 93 teachers nationwide who won the award, and one of two from California. Gladys “Tapp” Hancock of Wayside Elementary School in Bakersfield won the math award. Wotkyns, 40, has been a teacher for 15 years, including 13 years at Monlux, where she was praised by Principal Burton Govenar. “She’s an outstanding teacher who has won a number of awards,” Govenar said. “We’re very proud of her. We look forward to her coming back.” Wotkyns’ love of science began when she was a child growing up in Hawaii, where she remembers roaming the shore with her grandfather and searching for marine life in tide pools.