Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a comment from Oakcrest Intermediate School Principal Lee Wright.
A Tomball ISD teacher is among six finalists in Texas for the 2018 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced Thursday in a press release from the Texas Education Agency.
Allison Bearden, a sixth grade math and science teacher at Oakcrest Intermediate School, is among the three Texas finalists being considered for a presidential award in elementary science, according to the release. Bearden—along with the other state finalists—will be reviewed by a national selection committee, which will select up to two teachers from each state and U.S. jurisdiction to receive the 2018 PAEMST.
Teachers at Plano and Argyle ISDs are the other two elementary science finalists for the state. Teachers in Carrollton-Farmers Branch, San Antonio and Pasadena ISDs comprise the three finalists for elementary mathematics, according to the release.
The presidential award is the highest recognition a math or science teacher may receive for teaching in the U.S., according to the release. The awards are managed by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The finalists were selected from kindergarten through sixth grade math and science teachers nominated throughout the state for high-quality teaching.
“Mrs. Bearden is one of the most unique and talented teachers I have worked with, because she has experience teaching math and science at grades [three through six],” Oakcrest Intermediate School Principal Lee Wright said in an email. “She balances her high expectations with high levels of support for students. … While at Oakcrest, she has created Project-Based Learning experiences for her students, ranging from Free Little Library designs to a Mission to Mars project—included having a NASA representative serve on a panel during student presentations. She fully exemplifies our campus motto of ‘Cultivating Character. Elevating Education.'”
According to the National Science Foundation, the award alternates between honoring kindergarten-sixth grade teachers and seventh-12th grade teachers each year. The program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1983, allowing the president to recognize up to 108 exemplary math and science teachers each year.
Up to three finalists from each award category may be selected by a state selection committee for recognition at the state level, according to the National Science Foundation. These finalists are then reviewed by a national selection committee, which may recommend up to two teachers from each state to the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, a certificate signed by the president and a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend an award ceremony and professional development events, according to the release.
Learn more about the prestigious award program here.