Two Dimond Teachers Awarded Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Two Dimond high school teachers were awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and got the opportunity to travel to Washington DC to receive their award along with other esteemed teachers from across the country.

According to the PAEMST website, the PAEMST award is the highest honor given by the United States government to teachers in the subjects of science, mathematics, technology, computer science and engineering. Dimond Physics teacher Jennifer Childress and Dimond Mathematics teacher Joshua Hall were the first teacher couple to win this award. 

Hall said, “We won the Presidential Award for Excellence. I won for math, and she won for science.”

They have been waiting a long time for their results and finally received news of it this year.

Childress said, “I was nominated in the 2016-2017 school year by a student. It was a long application process which included a whole written part, letters of recommendation, videotaping yourself teaching and sending that along with student work. It was a long process.”

Hall said, “There was a nomination process, then after you’re nominated there’s an application process comprised of videotaping lessons, answering lengthy questions. It was a pretty extensive application. 

“There’s a competition within the state that narrows it down the top five people in the state for math, and top five people for science. Then those people are forwarded on to the National Science Foundation and they adjudicate the award that comes from the president.”

Along with winning the award, Childress and Hall were able to travel to Washington DC to attend the award ceremony with their family.

Childress said, “They kept us really busy. We had to travel all day Tuesday, and it was on Wednesday midday. We got to go do a run around the monuments Wednesday morning. That was one of the few things we did without the whole event.

“They had different workshops for us to go to, time for us to interact with all the other teachers, we did a White House tour, we had dinner at the Kennedy Art Center and then the whole awards ceremony.”

The ceremony in Washington, DC, was also an opportunity for the most esteemed teachers from around the country to interact with each other and share ideas.

Hall said, “We were there with the other award recipients, and so we mostly gathered with the people and shared ideas, and of course the award ceremony, share experiences and we got to communicate with the top math and science teachers from around the country.

“My favorite part really was just the ability to connect with my peers who are really the best math teachers from every state, and being able to hear what they’re doing and what their ideas are, and what their challenges are and compare notes with them was really valuable to me.”

Childress said, “I think my favorite part was being able to interact with all of those teachers, and being able to see and talk with amazing science and math teachers from all around the country. Also, my parents got to come, so it was cool to have them with me as well.”