DMPS Teachers are State Finalists for National Presidential Award

DMPS mathematics instructors John Butz (Jefferson School), Zac Christensen (Perkins Academy), and Barb Leise (Downtown School) have been identified as the state mathematics finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. It is awarded every other year for elementary teachers and alternate years for secondary science and math teachers.

“John, Zac, and Barb are all teacher leaders in math professional development for DMPS,” said Barb Adams, mathematics curriculum coordinator. “It’s an honor for our district that all three math finalists are teachers in Des Moines Public Schools.”

State finalists for science instruction are Mason Kuhn (Shell Rock, Ia.) and Brandon Schrauth (Johnston, Ia.). All finalists were honored at the Iowa Teachers of the Year Luncheon on Oct. 22, 2010.

The Iowa finalists’ applications have been submitted to the national selection committee and next summer, one math and one science finalist may be chosen to represent Iowa. Winners receive $10,000 and a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., where they will be recognized in several ceremonies and have an opportunity to meet President Barack Obama.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching was enacted by Congress in 1983 and authorizes the president to bestow up to 108 awards each year. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. The teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science.

Last year, Des Moines’ North High School science teacher, Jessica Gogerty was the winner of the PAEMST for the state of Iowa.