Area teacher receives Presidential Award for Excellence

Photo: Harrison Middle School science teacher Mary HatchHarrison Middle School teacher Mary Hatch is one of two instructors in Arkansas selected as recipients of the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The National Science Foundation, on behalf of The White House, oversees the program that recognizes teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to professional development, innovative teaching techniques and technology use in their classrooms.

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award, presidential citation and a trip to Washington, DC, for a series of recognition events, professional development activities and an awards ceremony.

Hatch teaches environmental and spatial technology in grades six through eight in the Harrison School District.

While Hatch was recognized for the science award, the math recipient for the state is Melodie Murray, who teaches at Pocahontas High School.

“Math and science principles are heavily ingrained in today’s jobs, as well as jobs of the future,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key says. “In order to be prepared for the workforce, exceptional teachers in these fields are critical to success. I am happy to congratulate Ms. Hatch and Ms. Murray for receiving these presidential awards. This recognition is among the highest in the STEM field, and these two outstanding educators are well deserving of this honor.”

Each year math and science educators are nominated on the state level. State finalists then have the potential to receive national recognition. A national committee comprised of scientists, mathematicians and educators reviews all state finalists and recommends up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards in mathematics, science and computer science.

Winners are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity.

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