By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Two Wyoming teachers recently received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
President Donald Trump announced Monday that teachers in Thermopolis and Jackson were among the nation’s 2019 winners, according to a news release from the Wyoming Department of Education.
Aimee Kay, a science teacher at Thermopolis Middle School, and Jennifer Kelley, a math teacher at Jackson Hole High School, were the Wyoming recipients this year.
The award is the highest recognition that K-12 mathematics, science or computer science teachers can receive in the United States. Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation.
“The PAEMST award is an honor that has already connected me with a network of exceptional teachers around our state who are willing to share ideas and collaborate, inspiring my continued growth,” Kay said in the news release. “I look forward to connecting with STEM teachers nationally as well. It has validated my efforts as I prepare the next generation of scientists and problem solvers to make the world a better place. Through it, I have also gained more confidence in my methods and a rejuvenated sense of purpose and passion.”
“This award inspires and encourages me to continue on my amazing journey as an educator,” said Kelly, who teaches Algebra, AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC at JHHS. “ It recognizes my desire to provide the best opportunities for all students to advance their knowledge and excitement in mathematics. It recognizes my desire to provide the best opportunities for all students to advance their knowledge and excitement in mathematics. Being able to help young adults figure out how to self-advocate and become lifelong learners is very rewarding. I am fortunate to work with incredible students and colleagues who continue to motivate me to strive for excellence.”
Each year, up to six finalists in each state are chosen for the award through a rigorous peer review process. The applications are forwarded to the National Science Foundation, where the final selection for the national Presidential Award is made.
Enacted by Congress in 1983, the program authorizes the President to award 108 math and science teachers each year in recognition of their contribution to excellent teaching and learning.
“Aimee and Jennifer set the gold standard when it comes to teaching math and science to students,” Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said in the news release. “It is befitting that they are being recognized for this prestigious honor.”
Awardees come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools and schools in four U.S. territories.
Each awardee will receive a certificate signed by Trump and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees will also travel to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony at a future date.