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Three District of Columbia Math and Science Teachers Selected as Award Finalists

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
For Immediate Release: August 19, 2014
Media Contact: Briant Coleman (202) 654-6120; briant.coleman@dc.gov

WASHINGTON, DC -- The District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) today announced that three math and science teachers in the District have been named finalists for the 2014 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The national winners will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, a certificate signed by the President of the United States, and an invitation to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.  

“Teachers are the greatest factor in helping students succeed and inspiring them to learn and grow,” said State Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. “We are committed to building the next generation of leaders and inventors through our innovative STEM programs and initiatives.”  

The PAEMST is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.

The 2014 District finalists are:

  • Vanessa Ford: PreK – 5th Grade Science teacher (Think Tank) at Maury Elementary School;
  • Michael Mangiaracina: 1st – 5th Grade Science teacher at Brent Elementary School; and
  • Kristina Kellogg: 4th Grade Mathematics teacher at Watkins Elementary School.

“As a STEM teacher who embraces the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), it is my charge to ensure that my students are not only exploring science concepts, but are doing so in a way that fully integrates science and engineering practices,” said Ford with excitement. “My class provides this space for students. It is my responsibility to provide new experiences for students to add to their own, especially when all of the students do not have access to a wide range of experiences already.”

“I was exposed to a much more structured way of helping students articulate the evidence they have observed as they make their claims, and I was convinced that argumentation lies at the heart of the Next Generation Science Standards,” Mangiaracina said. “I am a ‘Teaching In Action’ teacher, opening my classroom for observation to teachers throughout the District.”

“I created the school’s first ‘math learning walks’ to give all teachers an opportunity to observe best-practices not only in my classroom, but throughout the building,” said Kellogg. “My leadership role as grade level chair afforded me an opportunity to impact many teachers. As a result of mentoring and helping the teachers enhance their knowledge of not only content and pedagogy, but resources and organization, our entire grade level saw significant gains.”

National award winners will be announced in the spring of 2015 after a national selection committee of prominent scientists, mathematicians and educators convenes to select up to two finalists from each state. OSSE will recognize the PAEMST finalists at its statewide educator award celebration later this year.

For more information on about the PAEMST, please visit the PAEMST website.

About PAEMST

PAEMST is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The award is the highest honor in the nation for teachers of math and science presented for their leadership in education outside the classroom, and achievement in improving teaching and student learning.

About OSSE

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is the State Education Agency for the District of Columbia charged with raising the quality of education for all DC residents. OSSE serves as the District’s liaison to the U.S. Department of Education and works closely with the District’s traditional and public charter schools. For more information about OSSE, visit our website: osse.dc.gov