State Supt. Janet Barresi Congratulates Presidential Award Finalists


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi recently congratulated four Oklahoma school teachers as finalists for the 2011 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

“We are so proud of these teachers who represent the best in the state at teaching subjects that are an absolute priority for 21st Century learning,” Barresi said.

The 2011 finalists for secondary math are Samuel Holthe from Duncan High School and Ashley Moody from McLoud High School; for secondary science, Rebecca Morales from Union Intermediate High School and Sarah Vann from the Owasso 8th Grade Center.

One teacher in each subject will be selected in the spring to receive the Presidential Award, the nation’s highest honor for U.S. mathematics and science teachers in grades kindergarten through 12th. The awards program is administered by the National Science foundation on behalf of the White House.

Winners receive a $10,000 award, a presidential citation and a trip to Washington, D.C., where they get to meet the president. The four were recognized by Barresi at the Oct. 27 State Board of Education meeting and were honored at a celebration luncheon. Also recognized the October State Board of Education meeting, were the 2010 finalist and winners of the national award.

Paige Bergin won the Presidential Award for elementary mathematics, and Denise Thomas won for elementary science. Both are teachers at Jarman Elementary School in the Union Public Schools District. Jennifer Evans-Lowery, from Fairview Elementary School in the Moore Public Schools District, was a 2010 finalist for elementary mathematics teaching.

Each year, a national panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators recommends up to 108 teachers to receive the Presidential Awards – one math and one science teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories and the schools operated by the Department of Defense Education Agency. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary teachers.

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Last updated on December 13, 2011