VILAS COUNTY - A Northwoods teacher will head to the White House next week to be honored.
John Hayes of Northland Pines High School will receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
"It kind of legitimizes the hard work that all teachers put into education," said Hayes.
President Obama named 213 math and science teachers as recipients, representing all 50 states.
Hayes will be one of two teachers representing Wisconsin.
"Teaching is a really hard gig," Hayes said. "I've done a lot of jobs in my career, and teaching by far is the hardest."
"If my wife didn't support me, if she wasn't behind me the whole way, I don't think I'd be getting any awards for one thing."
The award recognizes Hayes's innovation, creativity, and drive to get students enthusiastic about science, technology, engineering, and math.
Hayes created Math Week and Engineering Camp along with his other eclogues.
"There's a lot of luck involved in getting the award," he said. "I had to be in the right place at the right time."
"I was with a school district that was very supportive of what I was doing in the classroom. I had two colleagues that were also board certified."
Hayes was a statistician before he became a teacher. A colleague who previously won the award nominated him.
Hayes is hoping to meet the president when he heads to the White House on September.