They don’t leap tall buildings or perform miraculous feats of strength, but Dowell Middle School teacher Trista Hennebry and McKinney High School teacher Theresa
Horvath possess perhaps a far greater power -- the ability to generate excitement about mathematics while shaping their students into independent learners and problem solvers.

Raytheon Company recently chose Hennebry and Horvath as 2012 MathMoves U Math Heroes.

Selected from a field of 208 nominations, these innovative McKinney ISD math teachers will each receive a $2,500 award and a matching grant of $2,500 for their campuses.

Math Hero Awards reward nominated teachers and volunteers for promoting math to students in a fun and challenging learning environment. The awards are a component of Raytheon’s MathMoves U® program, a national initiative designed to engage middle school students in math and science through a variety of programs including contests, live events, scholarships, tutoring programs and more.

The 2012 Math Hero Award from MathMoves U honors Hennebry, Horvath and 31 other teachers and volunteers across the United States whose efforts in the classroom engage students in math through effective and creative learning exercises that draw on new and advanced teaching approaches.

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Horvath. “There are so many deserving teachers in this district and at McKinney High School, so I’m just excited that I have the opportunity to bring more technology and teaching tools to our schools for all of us to use. By receiving this award, it means I can purchase many resources and technology items that I’ve only wished for in the past.”


Pairing technology with outside-the-box instructional approaches has proved to be a key to increased student interest and success.

“When I post video notes online or ask my students to learn and create a video lesson to post online,” said Horvath, “they show enthusiasm for learning that cannot be matched. When I have students reviewing their math skills using apps rather than worksheets, they are more likely to stay focused and get more accomplished than they realize.”

As students grapple with challenging tasks, their accomplishments go beyond simply understanding the math.

“Middle School math is not really about the math, but more about creating independent learners and problem solvers,” Hennebry said.

“While my goal is for them to learn the math, I am more concerned that they leave my classroom able to think and learn for themselves, and hopefully my teaching makes that happen.”

Like true heroes, the motivation for seeing their students succeed goes far beyond awards.

“[Receiving this award] makes me very proud,” Hennebry said. “I do what I do, not for accolades, but simply because I love it. When you are doing something you love, your end purpose is not money or awards, but the satisfaction of being a part of something larger than you. It is nice to be recognized for my efforts and certainly puts a smile on my face.”

Raytheon is committed to raising awareness around the nation’s decline of math and science skills and believes that tomorrow’s engineers and technologists need to be excited by and interested in math today. Each year, Raytheon awards over $2 million in MathMoves U scholarships and grants to students, teachers and schools in recognition of mathematical achievement. For more information, please visit

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