President Obama announced that Stacey Plummer (Math) and Angela Gospodarek (Science) have been selected as the 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) recipients. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between mathematics and science teachers teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.
Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders. Ms. Plummer and Ms. Gospodarek will receive their awards in Washington, D.C. later this year.
The educators receiving these awards are recognized for significantly improving their students’ understanding of mathematics and science, for exemplary teaching, and for demonstrating educational goals that help them maintain positions of professional leadership.
“New Hampshire is fortunate to be taking part in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program. “These awards provide recognition to exceptional New Hampshire teachers who are furthering leadership in education,” said Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D., Commissioner of Education. “The Department of Education hopes that by recognizing the state’s many excellent educators, it will encourage more people to consider a career in education, and this award provides positive examples for pupils and peers alike.”
The Presidential Awards program was established in 1983 to identify outstanding teachers who can serve as role models for their colleagues. The goal of the program is to encourage highly capable individuals to enter and remain in the teaching field.
Nominations for this award at the state level come from the teachers’ colleagues, administrators, students, parents of students, and other community members. To be eligible, a teacher must spend half of his or her time or more in a public or private school, and have a minimum of five years teaching experience. Nominations for teachers of grades 7-12 will open in fall 2010.
The Department of Education administers and presents awards to recognize excellence in education with the goal of building a network that will enable others to use their expertise. For more information about other awards administered through the Department of Education, visit www.education.nh.gov/recognition/index.htm or contact Lori Temple, Public Information Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Angela Gospodarek has taught seventh grade Life Science at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in Raymond for seven years. Previously, following a dream to be a biologist, she spent a number of years as a marine scientist and regularly interacted with the public through outreach programs. She soon learned she was an effective communicator and loved to educate children, so she decided to change her career and bring her wonder and love of science to the classroom.
Angela is dedicated to a teaching style that encourages students to discover science through hands-on experience. Angela’s classroom is a unique mix of “critter” tanks and technology. Students in her class thrive on diverse opportunities, such as wading through chest-high water to collect fish, caring for exotic lizards, dissecting specimens such as squid, and preparing presentations on interactive whiteboards.
In the animal adaptation PAEMST lesson Angela displayed a great example of teaching a process skill, using a scientific tool such as a dichotomous key, and mastering skills including hypothesis testing. The lab activity was very hands-on for the students and allowed them to use various science skills to identify, observe, compare and contrast the various animal pairs.
Angela shares her knowledge through after-school workshops that are attended by teachers throughout the district. She is a member of the Technology Committee and a grade-level leader.
Angela has a B.S. in Marine Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and an M.S. in Ecology from the University of Connecticut. She is certified in middle school and high school biology.
Stacey Plummer has taught high school mathematics for 16 years and has spent the past 11 years teaching most of the courses offered by the Mathematics Department at Hollis Brookline High School at a variety of levels. She currently teaches Accelerated Geometry to 9th & 10th grade students and Consumer Math and College Calculus to12th grade students and she also taught a variety of math classes at Merrimack High School from 1994-1999.
As advisor to the state championship Math Team, Stacey has fostered students' passion for and curiosity about mathematics.
Stacey’s PAEMST application video was focused on the difficult concept of teaching and strengthening problem solving skills in Geometry through the exploration of areas of polygons and solids. Stacey presented her students with a complex problem that needed to be solved and gave them time to discuss their ideas about what they were seeing and strategies that they could use to solve the problem of how much paint was needed to paint the odd-shaped barn. The students quickly identified the geometric classification of the barn and worked diligently to develop a dissection strategy to come up with the correct answer.
Stacey is also committed to developing innovative lessons focused on problem solving and using a variety of technologies. She offers workshops to her colleagues to help advance their technological skills, and she enjoys mentoring student teachers.
Stacey has served on many committees, including the principal's Faculty Council, charged with suggesting policy changes to the school administration, and the Instructional Practices Committee, charged with investigating best practices in school design.
Stacey is a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Network of Educators in Science and Technology, New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics, and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Stacey received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of Rochester and a Master of Science in Mathematics for Teachers degree from the University of New Hampshire – Durham. She is certified in secondary mathematics.