Tomball ISD teachers make up one-third of Texas finalists for 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Two Tomball ISD teachers—including teachers at Tomball High School and Willow Wood Junior High—are among six finalists in Texas for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, TISD officials announced Nov. 8 in a press release. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Two Tomball ISD teachers—including teachers at Tomball High School and Willow Wood Junior High—are among six finalists in Texas for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, TISD officials announced Nov. 8 in a press release. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Two Tomball ISD teachers—including teachers at Tomball High School and Willow Wood Junior High—are among six finalists in Texas for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, TISD officials announced Nov. 8 in a press release. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Two Tomball ISD teachers are among the six finalists in Texas for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, TISD officials announced Nov. 8 in a press release.

Amy Edmondson, a seventh-grade math teacher at Willow Wood Junior High School, and Markaela van Putten—a dual-credit biology, anatomy and physiology teacher at Tomball High School—are among the six Texas finalists being considered for a presidential award in grades 7-12 mathematics and science, according to the release. Edmondson and Putten, 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 2019 PAEMST, according to PAEMST information.

In addition to Edmondson, grades seven-12 mathematics finalists include teachers at Denton and Dallas ISDs. Grades seven-12 science finalists include teachers in Amarillo and Aledo ISDs, as well as van Putten, 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, according to PAEMST information.

“Amy Edmondson has a permanent smile on her face,” WWJH Principal Bob Frost said in the release. “She is great with our students, faculty, and community and [has] the ability to provide the very best instruction while creating positive relationships. She is an incredible educator that thinks about others before herself, and we are very happy to have her educating students at Willow Wood Junior High.”

According to the National Science Foundation, the award alternates each year between honoring kindergarten-sixth-grade teachers and seventh-12th-grade teachers. The program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1983, and it allows the president to recognize up to 108 exemplary math and science teachers each year.



TISD's Allison Bearden was recognized as a state finalist in 2018 for her role as a sixth-grade math and science teacher at Oakcrest Intermediate School. She now serves at Tomball Intermediate School, according to the release. As such, this is the second straight year TISD educators have been recognized as PAEMST finalists, according to the release.

To be considered for the award, a teacher must first apply or be nominated for the award, according to the release. Eligible teachers are then reviewed by a state panel, which selects the state's finalists for national review. Up to three finalists from each award category—mathematics and science—may be selected by a state selection committee for recognition at the state level, according to the National Science Foundation.

All 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.

“We are so excited that Markaela has been named a Texas finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching,” TISD Director of Science Jennifer Adams said in the release. “Her style of teaching allows her enthusiasm and love for science to not only impact the students during class, but teaches them to be lifelong learners.”

Learn more about the prestigious award program here.

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By Anna Lotz

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.


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