TEA News Release 2




TEA News Releases Online                                                                                                                    July 10, 2013



Eight Texas teachers named finalists

for 2013 presidential award in math and science


AUSTIN - Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today announced that eight Texas teachers have been named finalists for the 2013 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The 2013 awards recognize seventh through twelfth grade mathematics and science teachers whose innovative methods bring teaching to life in the classroom.

PAEMST is the highest recognition a mathematics or science teacher may receive for exemplary teaching in the United States. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on the behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"I join with everyone at the Texas Education Agency in congratulating the Texas finalists for the 2013 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching," said Commissioner Williams. "These men and women stand as shining examples of the outstanding work educators do in Texas classrooms."

The 2013 Texas finalists in secondary mathematics are listed below:

  • Jessica Caviness - Geometry teacher at Coppell High School in the Coppell Independent School District
  • Amy Ferguson - Algebra II teacher and Instructional Dean of Mathematics at Winston Churchill High School in the North East Independent School District
  • Penny Smeltzer - Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics teacher at Westwood High School in the Round Rock Independent School District
  • Ruth Westbrook - English as a Second Language (ESL) mathematics teacher in grades 6-8 at McMath Middle School in the Denton Independent School District

The Texas finalists in secondary science are listed below:

  • Jim M. Manley - Seventh-grade science teacher at Coyle Middle School in the Garland Independent School District
  • Michalle McCallister- Eighth-grade science teacher at the Robert G. Cole Middle and High School in the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District
  • Mark Misage - AP Physics C teacher at Westlake High School in the Eanes Independent School District
  • Kim Wootton - Anatomy and Physiology, AP Biology, and Forensic Science teacher at New Tech High@Coppell in the Coppell Independent School District

To achieve recognition through this program, a teacher first must be nominated for the award. This year, the Texas PAEMST program received the highest total number of applicants in the nation with 52 in the two subjects combined. A state panel of master teachers, specialists, and administrators reviewed the applications and chose the most outstanding mathematics and science teachers for the National Science Foundation to consider for state finalist status.  

After the initial selection process at the state or territorial level, a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators may select one mathematics and one science teacher from each state and U.S. jurisdiction for the national award.

National award winners will be announced during the summer of 2014. PAEMST winners receive $10,000, a citation signed by the President of the United States, and a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend recognition events and professional development opportunities.

All of the 2013 finalists for Texas will be recognized by the State Board of Education.