Published: Dec. 14, 2005

Chris Lile, a math teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, will be recognized as an Outstanding Colorado High School Teacher and presented with a $1,000 award from the University of Colorado at Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science tonight, Dec. 15.

The new award recognizes a Colorado teacher or counselor who has provided inspiration, guidance or instruction leading to a student's future success in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Nominations were solicited from the college's outstanding graduates.

Lile was nominated for the award by James Kirby, a graduating senior in electrical and computer engineering and winner of the college's fall 2005 Academic Achievement Award, which recognizes the engineering graduate with the best academic record.

Lile and Kirby both will be recognized at the Engineering Recognition Ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. at Macky Auditorium.

The college is introducing the award to help build closer ties with high schools in Colorado by honoring teachers who have been inspirational to students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said Dean Robert H. Davis. "We believe that encouraging students in these disciplines in high school is fundamental to inspiring them to pursue college degrees in these fields, which in turn is essential to strengthening our state and national economies," Davis said.

Kirby is a 2001 graduate and valedictorian of Columbine High School who was named "Outstanding Columbine Math Student" and "Most Likely to Succeed." He received a National Merit Scholarship Commendation for scoring a perfect 800 on the math section of his SAT, and he went on to earn the highest grade-point average of any student graduating this semester from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Lile was Kirby's algebra teacher at Ken Caryl Middle School and coached the competitive, extracurricular MATHCOUNTS team, in which Kirby was involved in seventh and eighth grades.

In his nomination, Kirby said that Lile challenged and inspired him toward a greater understanding and appreciation for mathematics and problem-solving, which provided the foundation to his becoming an engineer.

"Because of his coaching and positive influence, I now know that I can continue to enjoy, investigate and master applications of mathematics throughout life," Kirby said.