News Releases

President Obama Names DMPS Educator Recipient of Math and Science Teaching Award

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Earlier this afternoon, the White House issued the press release pasted below naming the winners of this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The 102 winners are selected from finalists nominated by the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense.

One of this year’s winners representing Iowa is Josie Burg, a math teacher at the Downtown School. She is a native of Decorah who has taught in Des Moines Public Schools for the past eight years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UNI and a master’s degree from Drake University. Josie will travel to Washington, DC early next year for a recognition ceremony, including a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Josie is the tenth DMPS teacher to receive this prestigious national award since its creation in 1983.

Previous DMPS recipients (and the school they taught at when receiving the award) were:

  • 1983: Karen Stiles, Weeks Middle School (Science)
  • 1995: Michael Link, Central Academy (Mathematics)
  • 1995: Karen Sievers, Callanan Middle School (Science)
  • 1997: Karen Voss, Merrill Middle School (Mathematics)
  • 1997: Joseph Zimmerman, Central Academy (Mathmatics)
  • 1998: Mary Dilts, Roosevelt High School (Mathematics)
  • 2006: Jennifer Johnson, Jefferson Elementary School (Mathematics)
  • 2009: Jessica Gogerty, North High School (Science)
  • 2010: Barbara Leise, Downtown School (Mathematics)

Two of Iowa’s three math finalists for next year’s award are also DMPS teachers: Jeff Marks of Roosevelt High School and Brian Reece of Central Academy.

President Obama Honors Outstanding Math and Science Teachers

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama today named 102 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This year’s awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The educators will receive their awards at a Washington, DC, event in the coming year.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The 2012 awardees named today teach kindergarten through 6th grade.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.

“These teachers are inspiring today’s young students to become the next generation of American scientists, mathematicians, and innovators,” President Obama said. “Through their passion and dedication, and by sharing their excitement about science, technology, engineering, and math, they are helping us build a promising future for all our children.”

Excellent math and science teachers, exemplified by these awardees, are critical to getting more students engaged in the increasingly important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. That’s why President Obama has committed to strengthening STEM education and has called for preparing 100,000 excellent science and mathematics teachers over the next decade—a goal that inspired the creation of “100kin10,” a coalition of leading corporations, philanthropies, universities, service organizations, and others working to train and retain STEM teachers across the Nation. The President has also proposed to further strengthen the STEM teaching profession by launching a new STEM Master Teacher Corps, leveraging the expertise of some of our nation’s best and brightest teachers in science and mathematics to elevate the teaching of these subjects nationwide.

Nominations for the 2014 PAEMST are open through April 1, 2014. For more information about PAEMST, please visit

The recipients of the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are:

Danielle Peterson, Hoover (Math)
Rita Schell, Homewood (Science)

Rebecca Himschoot, Sitka (Science)
Amy Laufer, Anchorage (Math)

Allison Davis, Chandler (Math)
Cindy Piano, Glendale (Science)

Jennifer Richardson, Greenbrier (Science)
Christi Snow, Springdale (Math)

Jamie Garner, Turlock (Math)
Alma Park, East Palo Alto (Science)

Elizabeth Grabois, Denver (Science)
Joan Standefer, Boulder (Math)

Mary Servino, Bridgeport (Science)
Maren Sussman, Ellington (Math)

Timothy Dalby, Wilmington (Science)
Jeanine Moore, Millsboro (Math)

Department of Defense Education Activity
Carol Fears (Math)
Marilyn Hawks (Science)

District of Columbia
Katrina Abdussalaam (Math)
Martha Estroff (Science)

Nancy Bourne, Jupiter (Math)
Barbara Wilcox, Cocoa (Science)

Christy Garvin, Powder Springs (Science)
Jeanne Rast, Hapeville (Math)

Laura Fukumoto, Honolulu (Math)
Dave Morishige, Mililani (Science)

Tauna Johnson, Genesse (Science)
Donna Wommack, Genesse (Math)

Lisa Feltman, Algonquin (Math)
Bryan Lake, Urbana (Science)

Teresa Gross, Greenwood (Science)
Jay Vahle, Carmel (Math)

Mason Kuhn, Shell Rock (Science)

Lindsey Constance, Shawnee (Science)
Cathy Wilber, Wamego (Math)

Suzanne Farmer, Danville (Math)
Patricia Works, Lexington (Science)

Donna Lamonte, Baton Rouge (Math)
Amanda Warren, Mandeville (Science)

Karen Jagolinzer, Yarmouth (Math)
Elizabeth Heidemann, Cushing (Science)

Timothy Emhoff, Indian Head (Science)
Kris Hanks, Glen Burnie (Math)

Erin Dukeshire, Roxbury (Science)
Jessica Findlay, Douglas (Math)

Brian Peterson, Rochester (Science)
Emily Theriault-Kimmey, Ann Arbor (Math)

Cathy Kindem, Apple Valley (Science)
Michael Wallus, Saint Paul (Math)

Catherine Tebo, Jackson (Math)

Laura Parn, Wentzville (Math)
Ragan Webb, Columbia (Science)

Elizabeth Matthews, Gallatin Gateway (Science)
Melissa Romano, Helena (Math)

Alysia Augustus, Bellevue (Math)
Kimberly Humphrey, Kearney (Science)

Ryan Doetch, Sparks (Math)
Traci Loftin, Reno (Science)

New Hampshire
Holly Doe, Pelham (Science)

New Jersey
Jennifer Basner, Berlin (Math)
Jeanette Scillieri, Leonia (Science) 

New Mexico
Anna Suggs, Las Cruces (Science)
Vivian Valencia, Espanola (Math)

New York
Helen Rogosin, New York (Science)
Joshua Rosen, Dobbs Ferry (Math)

North Carolina
Teresa Cowan, Swannanoa (Science)
Tonya Kepley, China Grove (Math)

North Dakota
Kristine Brandt, Fargo (Math)
Kathleen Lentz, Valley City (Science)

Natalie Harr, Mantua (Science)
Elizabeth Pitzer, Arcanum (Math)

Carol Huett, Moore (Science)
Patricia Reece, Bokoshe (Science)

Kerry Morton, Bend (Math)

Susan Bauer, Macungie (Science)
Michael Soskil, Newfoundland (Math)

Puerto Rico
Maria Cerra-Castaner, Rio Pierdras (Math)

Rhode Island
Regina Kilday, Exeter (Math)
Clare Ornburn, Ashaway (Science)

South Carolina
John Dearybury III, Spartanburg (Science)
Donald Sarazen, Columbia (Math)

South Dakota
Ann Anderson, Belle Fourche (Science)
Erin Marsh, Pierre (Math)

Margaret Hawkins, Lebanon (Science)
Amber Hodge, Knoxville (Math)

Wendy Hendry, Colleyville (Math)
Kent Page, San Antonio (Science)

Rebecca Elder, Murray (Math)
Julie Hammari, Spanish Fork (Science)

Carol Joy Dobson, Weybridge (Math)
Mary Ellis, Enosburg Falls (Math)

Stephanie Chlebus, Alexandria (Math)
Elizabeth Miller, Richmond (Science)

Pamela Nolan-Beasley, Waitsburg (Science)
Nancy Pfaff, Redmond (Math)

West Virginia
Barbara Black, Hurricane (Science)
Gabrielle Rhodes, Buckhannon (Science)

Mary Fernan, Milton (Math)
Kathleen Hiteman, Middleton (Science)

Laurie Graves, Big Horn (Science)
Kathleen Kniss, Laramie (Math)

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