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Top mathematics, science teachers recognized

Seven Delaware teachers have been named finalists for the highest recognition that K-12 mathematics and science teachers can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. These finalists will be honored at a banquet in Dover on November 9, alongside the state’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners, who will be named at the event.


The 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) finalists include three math and four science teachers from Appoquinimink, Caesar Rodney, POLYTECH and Indian River school districts, MOT Charter School, and the private Tatnall School. PAEMST finalists earn a chance to be named a 2017 math or science awardee by the U.S. Department of Education.


Awarded each year by the White House, PAEMST is given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the PAEMST award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.


Every year each state selects up to five mathematics teachers and five science teachers as state finalists. The award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.


A national selection committee reviews state finalist applications and selects one awardee in each content area for every state. Teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. As part of the recognition process, awardees take part in a weeklong series of networking and professional development activities in Washington, D.C., and receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.


“Delaware’s state winners are educators whose deep content knowledge and high quality instruction support strong student learning in math and science,” Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “PAEMST educators are role models in math and science; thus we applaud the impact they are having on students across our state.”


The PAEMST award was established by Congress in 1983. It is administered through the National Science Foundation.  For more information about PAEMST and to see nomination forms and applications instructions, visit


On November 9, Delaware also will announce two Delaware mathematics and science education Lifetime Achievement awardees. Delaware’s Mathematics and Science Education Lifetime Achievement Awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions to furthering mathematics and science education over the course of their careers. Nominations are reviewed by the PAEMST state selection committee. Previous awardees include: Denise Griffiths from the Delaware Council of Teachers of Mathematics; retired Department of Education employees Jack Cairns, William Geppert and Sally Caldwell; and DuPont education liaison Peggy Vavalla.


Media is welcome to cover the Nov. 9 event. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served shortly after 6:00 p.m., at Delaware State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center in Dover.



2017 Finalists


Thomas Becker, MOT Charter School, Grades 9-11
Kathleen Olenderski, Appoquinimink School District’s Alfred G. Waters Middle School, Grade 8
Vickie Pendleton, Indian River School District’s Georgetown Middle School, Grade 8


Jennifer Bradshaw, POLYTECH School District’s POLYTECH High School, Grade 10 Biology
Robert Ferrell, Appoquinimink School District’s Louis L. Redding Middle School, Grade 8
Joshua Gates, private Tatnall School, Grades 11-12 Physics
Todd Klawinski, Caesar Rodney School District’s F. Niel Postlethwait Middle School, Grades 7-8


Photos of the educators are available here.



Media Contact: Alison May, (302) 735-4006,