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Six Delaware teachers named finalists for national teaching award

The Delaware Department of Education has named six Delaware teachers as state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest recognition that K-12 STEM teachers can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Finalists’ applications will now move forward to the national level for final selection of the 2021 PAEMST Awardees.

The 2021 DE State Finalists are
● Katherine Hoffecker, Odessa High School, Appoquinimink School District
● Tommie Polite, Laurel Middle School, Laurel School District
● Michael Reitemeyer, Las Americas ASPIRA Academy
● Corey Butterfield, George Read Middle School, Colonial School District
● Brian Heeney, Delcastle Technical High School, New Castle County Vocational Technical School District
● Erin Motley, Gunning Bedford Middle School, Colonial School District

“Congratulations to these teachers for being recognized for their outstanding teaching that helps students meaningfully engage in science and math,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “They have already demonstrated leadership their schools by modeling superior instructional practices. Thus I am thrilled they are being recognized by the state and potentially by the nation.”

Photos of the finalists are available here.

The goal of the PAEMST program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching (including technology, engineering and computer science) 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 of 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.

Additionally, the 2020 DE State Finalists also are awaiting final selection by the national panel. The 2020 DE State Finalists who were announce in the fall are:
● Sara Bushey (mathematics), Lake Forest North Elementary School, Lake Forest School District
● Brandi Luloff (mathematics), Townsend Elementary School, Appoquinimink School District
● Sonia Saunders (science), Brandywine Springs School, Red Clay Consolidated School District
● Leona Williams (science), Forwood Elementary School, Brandywine School District

The White House announcement of national awardees for both 2020 and 2021 are expected within the 2021 calendar year. Congratulations to all Delaware finalists.

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

Alison May
(302) 735-4006