Chalkboard Champion and Arizona math educator Joaquin Bustoz, Jr.

There are many examples of brilliant educators who have offered their talents to improve high school instruction. One such educator was Joaquin Bustoz, Jr., a university math professor from Arizona who established an advanced placement program for high school students.

Joaquin was born on December 30, 1939, in Tempe, Arizona, one of five children born to parents Joaquin, Sr., and Ramona. His parents, who were farm workers, also worked for their local schools, and were so revered that the Tempe Unified School District even named one of their elementary school after the couple.

In 1962, Joaquin earned his bachelor’s degree in math from Arizona State University. Continuing his education at that institution, he earned his master’s degree the following year, and in 1967 he completed the requirements for his doctorate degree. After earning his doctorate, Joaquin became a professor of mathematics at the University of Cincinatti, where he taught from 1969 to 1976.

In 1985, Joaquin founded the Summer Math-Science Honors program for high school students under the auspices of the University of Arizona. Still in place today, the curriculum offers an advanced placement program that provides opportunities for under-represented students to study university mathematics and science while still enrolled in high school. He also devoted many hours to Native American students on the nearby Navajo and Pima Reservations. For his outstanding work Joaquin has garnered numerous awards. For example, President Bill Clinton awarded Joaquin the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, Engineering in 1996.

Sadly, this talented and dedicated educator was killed on August 13, 2003, in an auto accident. He is interred at Double Butte Cemetery in Tempe.

You can learn more about this outstanding chalkboard champion on the website of the Mathematical Association of America by clicking MAA. You can also learn more about the advanced placement program he founded at ASU Summer Math Program.