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Top national mathematics, science teachers recognized

Four Delaware teachers have been named as recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest recognition that K-12 mathematics and science teachers can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. The finalists were honored last week at the national awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

The 2017 national awardees are:

• Kathleen Olenderski (mathematics) of Alfred G. Waters Middle School in the Appoquinimink School District.
• Joshua Gates (science) of the private Tatnall School

The 2018 national awardees are:

• Jennah Truitt (mathematics) of Lord Baltimore Elementary School in the Indian River School District
• Danielle Rash (science) of Olive B. Loss Elementary School in the Appoquinimink School District

The Delaware Department of Education also has named six teachers as 2019 state PAEMST finalists:

• Katherine Hoffecker (mathematics) of Middletown High School in the Appoquinimink School District
• Eileen Voltz (mathematics) of the Charter School of Wilmington in the Red Clay Consolidated School District
• Kathleen Wilson (mathematics) of St. Georges Vocational Technical High School in the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District
• Jordan Estock (science) of Concord High School in the Brandywine School District
• Elizabeth Plant (science) of First State Montessori Academy Charter School
• Rachael Smith (science) of Hodgson Vo-Tech High School in the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District

The national finalists and state awardees will be recognized later this school year at the Delaware STEM Conference. Information will be forthcoming.

The goal of the PAEMST award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching in addition to honoring individual achievement. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. The award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. Every year each state selects up to three mathematics teachers and three science teachers as state finalists. 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.

For more information about PAEMST and to see nomination forms and application instructions, visit

Alison May
(302) 735-4006