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News Release 12-119

Outstanding Science and Mathematics Teachers Receive Presidential Awards

Awardees meet the Bidens during White House visit

Photo of the White House.

Of the teachers honored from across the country, 51 are science teachers and 46 are math teachers.

July 2, 2012

View video interviews with 2011 PAEMST awardees Angela Miller, Judith Martinez, Matthew Montgomery Owens and Robert Samuel Ettinger.

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) came to Washington, D.C., on June 25 for a week of recognition activities and professional development. Highlighting their trip was a visit to the White House, where they met with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, a longtime educator. The week's activities also included meetings with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and National Science Foundation (NSF) Deputy Director Cora B. Marrett. (See the White House blog for additional details and photos.)

On June 28th, the awardees received certificates signed by President Obama at a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

"America's success in the 21st century depends on our ability to educate our children, give our workers the skills they need and embrace technological change," the President said when announcing the awards last month.

"That starts with the men and women in front of our classrooms. These teachers are the best of the best, and they stand as excellent examples of the kind of leadership we need in order to train the next generation of innovators and help this country get ahead."

PAEMST represents the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. In addition to the presidential certificate, awardees received a trip for two to Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 award from NSF.

Of the 97 teachers selected for this year's awards (see list below), there are 51 science teachers and 46 mathematics teachers from across the country, including the four U.S. jurisdictions of Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Department of Defense Education Activity schools and the U.S. territories as a group. U.S. territories include: American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

PAEMST applications are reviewed at the state and national levels by selection committees of outstanding scientists, mathematicians, and educators.  Nominees are then sent to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and to the President for final selection. Each year the awards alternate between elementary (kindergarten through sixth grade) and secondary (seventh through 12th grade) teachers.

Since the program's inception in 1983, more than 4,200 teachers have received this honor. NSF administers PAEMST on behalf of OSTP. The 2011 Presidential awardees are listed below. For more information, including awardee photos, bios, and quotes, visit the PAEMST website.

By Discipline (Mathematics)

Jaime Abreu Ramos, Puerto Rico
Jennifer Baker, Missouri
Sarah Bax, District of Columbia
Spencer Bean, DoDEA
Beatriz Camacho, US Territories
Stephanie Cronin, Alaska
Suzanne Culbreth, Alabama
Peter DeCraene, Illinois
Karla Digmann, Iowa
Alison Drake, Louisiana
Kathleen Erickson, Massachusetts
Cathy Estes, Vermont
Donna Forbes, Minnesota
David Hartman, Nebraska
Andrea Higdon, Kentucky
Phyllis Hillis, Tennessee
Kentaro Iwasaki, California
Elisabeth Jaffe, New York
Tammy Johnson, Montana
Kathleen Jones, Florida
Gary Mayers, Nevada
John McAllen, III, New Jersey
Angela Miller, Kansas
Ashley Moody, Oklahoma
Carole Morbitzer, Ohio
Stephaine Muckelberg, Arkansas
Brian Nelson, Rhode Island
Matthew Owens, South Carolina
Katie Pemberton, Idaho
Mary Pinkston, Delaware
Neil Reger, West Virginia
Kimberly Riddle, Virginia
Dixie Ross, Texas
Natalie Schneider, Indiana
Katherine Schwang, Pennsylvania
Vivian Shell, Utah
Nathan Shields, Washington
Deborah Snook, South Dakota
Charles Souza, Jr., Hawaii
Michael Tamblyn, Wisconsin
Carol Taylor, Georgia
Karen Thomas, Connecticut
Nancy Trollinger, North Carolina
Jennifer Wilson, Mississippi
Jayne Wingate, Wyoming
Andrea Wiseman, Colorado
By Discipline (Science)

Dean Baird, California
Katherine Baker, US Territories
Robert Becker, Missouri
Gina Bergskaug, New Hampshire
David Bonner, Illinois
Dennis Burkett, Jr., Kansas
Joan Christen, Nebraska
Anna Cole, Louisiana
Jacqueline Curley, Virginia
Chanda Davis, Alabama
Robert Ettinger, Washington
Stephen Fannin, Florida
Tami Fitzgerald, Ohio
Michael Frank, Arizona
Eric Grunden, North Carolina
Amy Hanson, Colorado
Barry Hopkins, Maryland
Tyler Hoxley, Connecticut
Joanna Hubbard, Alaska
James Jordan, Idaho
Michael Kaufmann, Delaware
Joy Killough, Texas
Mary Koike, Oregon
Paul Kuhlman, South Dakota
Ila LaChapelle, North Dakota
James Larson, Utah
Vickie Logan, Arkansas
Judith Martínez, Puerto Rico
David Mather, Rhode Island
Stacy McCormack, Indiana
Angela McDaniel, West Virginia
Jamin McKenzie, Minnesota
Lucy McKone, Mississippi
Rebecca McLelland-Crawley, New Jersey
Elizabeth Mirra, Vermont
Rebecca Morales, Oklahoma
Francesco Neal-Noschese, New York
Donald Pata, Michigan
Kara Pezzi, Wisconsin
Carol Pleninger, Montana
Richard Schmidt, Pennsylvania
Gail Schulte, Tennessee
Julia Segawa, Hawaii
Chad Sharpe, Wyoming
Kelly Stewart, Georgia
Jody Stone, Iowa
Holly Sullivan, South Carolina
Joshua Underwood, Kentucky
Kenneth Vencile, Maine
Naomi Volain, Massachusetts
William Wallace, District of Columbia


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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