North High School Science Teacher is Finalist for National Presidential Award

North High School physics teacher Jessica Gogerty is a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). She was honored by the Iowa Department of Education along with three other state finalists at a luncheon in July.

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 secondary science and math teachers and alternate years for elementary teachers.

Gogerty is beginning her 21st year of teaching in Des Moines Public Schools. She taught at Harding Middle School for six years and East High School for two years. This is her 13th year at North High School where she teaches ninth grade physics.

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.

“No matter the outcome for my application, my professional practice has been refined and enhanced by the experience, which makes it worthwhile,” said Gogerty.

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.

The other PAEMST finalist from Iowa in science is Kevin Koepnick of City High School, Iowa City. The finalists in math are Brooke Fischels of Ottumwa High School, Ottumwa, and Matt Miller of Washington High School, Cedar Rapids.