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Math and Science teachers recognized as state finalists for presidential award

The Mississippi State Board of Education recently recognized the 2017 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Program. PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through

PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher, including computer science, may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Finalists are selected through an application process.

“I congratulate these state finalists who represent Mississippi and our teaching profession admirably. These prestigious honors confirm the excellence of our teachers is on par with teachers across the country,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

The PAEMST program, established in 1983 by the White House, allows each state to select up to five state finalists in mathematics and up to five state finalists in science.

One of the state finalists in each content area will be selected as the Presidential Awardee for the state, which is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

John Banks, a former Physics teacher at Kosciusko High School is a 30-year veteran teacher and is semi-retired.  Banks currently teaches a class at St. Joseph’s in Madison and said he enjoys sharing the wonders of this world with his students, and he hopes he gets the opportunity to represent Mississippi on a national level.

“I’ve taught 2,900 students and they have made me the teacher that I am, not the other way around and I am deeply, deeply appreciative of the experience that I have had as a teacher.”

Banks was previously a state finalist in 2013 and did not win the national competition.

Carrie (Shae) Koenigsberger, teaches 11th and 12th-grade PreCalculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, Differential Equations and Trigonometry at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and has been teaching for over 11 years.

“Engagement is the key to meaningful discourse in the classroom and building a relationship with students is necessary in order to be an effective teacher,” said Koenigsberger.

Karen Lindsey is a 7th-grade Algebra I, 8th Grade Compacted Math, and 8th-grade Geometry teacher at Germantown Middle School in Madison County and has been teaching for around 13 years.

She said believes impactful mathematics learning should take place in an environment that is fun, engaging, and reflective of the world that is changing around her students and said that receiving this honor excites her but also challenges her to continue seeking meaningful mathematical activities to teach and lead her students in order for them to grow in their pursuit of education.

Michelle Robinson teaches AP Chemistry, PLTW Principles of Engineering, PLTW Digital Electronics, PLTW Engineering Design and Development to 10th, 11th and 12th graders at Madison Central High School.

Robinson has been a teacher for 15 years and said she strives to inspire students to reach beyond what they think is possible and become self-motivated, critical thinking lifelong learners. She said she is excited and honored to be selected as a representative of the state’s amazing science educators, and she hopes her selection will inspire students and colleagues to always strive for excellence in their studies and careers.

PAEMST winners are typically announced and honored the year following the receipt of the application. Each individual awarded will receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

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