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Two School of Education alums finalists for Presidential Teaching Awards

December 29, 2016

Four Wisconsin educators are finalists for the 2016 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, including two alumnae of UW-Madison’s School of Education.

These awards are considered to be among the nation’s highest honors for mathematics and science teachers. The 2016 awards will recognize teachers at the elementary level (K-6), the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced in this news release.

edbuildingd99eba37c0a569e0ad6dff0000cdac6dFinalists from Wisconsin for the Presidential Teaching Awards who earned degrees from UW-Madison’s School of Education include:

• Rebecca Saeman, mathematics finalist, interventionist (K-4), Sauk Trails Elementary School, Middleton Cross Plains Area School District. Saeman earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the School of Education in 2014.

• Leigh Kohlmann, science finalist, sixth grade teacher, Rock River Intermediate School, Waupun Area School District. Kohlmann received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the School of Education in 1987.

Two other educators from Wisconsin who are finalists include: Susan Hammer, mathematics finalist, first grade teacher, Sauk Trails Elementary School, Middleton Cross Plains Area School District; and Jay Garvey Shah, science finalist, fifth grade teacher, Creekside Elementary School, Sun Prairie Area School District.

“Wisconsin’s finalists for Presidential Teaching Award inspire their students to learn complex math and science concepts,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in this Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction news release announcing the four finalists from Wisconsin. “They nurture mathematical thinking and problem-solving and let their students be scientists through hands-on learning. We wish them well in the next steps of the Presidential Teaching Awards program, which brings needed recognition to the work of our teachers and their dedication to students and the teaching profession.”

The Wisconsin DPI news release explains how “nominations for the award can be made by principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public. Nominees must complete an extensive written and video application that demonstrates their mastery of mathematics or science content; use of appropriate instructional methods and strategies; effective use of student assessments to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning; reflective practice and life-long learning to improve teaching and student learning; and leadership in education outside the classroom.”

The release adds: “Applications for Wisconsin’s four finalists will now be judged at the national level by a committee organized by the National Science Foundation. The panel may select one teacher of mathematics and one of science to receive Presidential Awards from each state. In addition to recognition and professional development events in Washington, D.C., winners receive $10,000 and a citation signed by the president.”

Additional information about the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is available online.