DoD Education Activity Encourages Nominations for Teacher Awards
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2008 Department of Defense Education Activity officials are encouraging parents, students, school administrators and others to nominate worthy science and mathematics teachers for a prestigious presidential award.
Michael Kestner, branch chief for mathematics for DoDEA headquarters, said the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Testing began in 1983 and recognizes educators for their dedication to teaching math and science at the 7th- to 12th-grade level.
The award is open to teachers from all 50 states and four jurisdictions, including DoDEA, who have been teaching science or math for at least five years.
“It’s the presidential award, so it’s a prestigious award,” Kestner said. “It puts [recipients] in a network of other master teachers across the country … so they create a network of master teachers who can share ideas and bring them back to their own schools.”
Kestner said DoDEA teachers may have a bit of an edge because of their circumstances.
“We have teachers all around the world, so they’re picking up techniques and experiences from the cultures they’re in as well as things that are happening in this country,” he said. “That’s one advantage that we have.”
Teachers are notified of their nominations and must then complete an application process that requires videotaping a lesson and then critiquing it. DoDEA teachers will get help with that, Kestner said.
“We try to support them going through the application process … to get their application complete,” he said. “It is a process that takes some time.”
In addition to recognition, recipients -- potentially 108 of them -- receive a trip for two to Washington, a citation signed by the president and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. The monetary award is theirs to do with as they see fit, Kestner said, but he predicted that most would put at least a portion of it back into their schools.
The National Science Foundation will select the final winners from nominees who go forward from their jurisdiction.
Recipients also have the opportunity to attend recognition events and professional development programs during their trip to the nation’s capital.
DoDEA officials ask that nominations be submitted before Jan. 8. Forms are available on the awards program’s Web site, http://www.paemst.org.