President Obama named the winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching on Monday.
The 213 winners are K-12 teachers who come from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The winners will receive a certificate signed by the president, $10,000 from the National Science Foundation, and an invitation to the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 8. The award is the highest form of recognition that a math or science K-12 teacher can receive.
“The recipients of this award are integral to ensuring our students are equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are vital to our nation’s success,” Obama said. “As the United States continues to lead the way in the innovation that is shaping our future, these excellent teachers are preparing students from all corners of the country with the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills that help keep us on the cutting-edge.”
The initial selection process for winners begins at the state level. Then, the final winners are chosen by a group of scientists, mathematicians, and educators. The award winners announced Monday represent two nomination years, which make up a selection of kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers and seventh-grade through 12th-grade teachers.
Since 2009, the president’s Educate to Innovate Campaign has raised more than $1 billion in private investments to improve STEM education. In 2011, Obama set a goal to have 100,000 additional STEM teachers by 2021. So far 30,000 STEM teachers have been trained and resources are in place to train the additional 70,000. Obama has also advocated for a Master Teacher Corps initiative, which would identify the best STEM teachers and allow them to share tips with their peers.