NEWS RELEASES 2016-17 :: SEPTEMBER 1, 2016


Four North Carolina teachers were recently named Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) recipients – the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching.

The 2014 recipients are:

  • Kayonna Pitchford, previously with Stoney Point Elementary, Cumberland County Schools, and now with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Mathematics); and
  • Justin Osterstrom, Martin Middle School, Wake County Schools (Science).

The 2015 recipients are:

  • Lauren Baucom, Forest Hills High School, Union County Schools (Mathematics); and
  • Karen Newman, Durham Academy, Durham (Science).

In making the announcement, President Obama said, “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. 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.”

State Superintendent June Atkinson congratulated the recipients saying, “North Carolina is fortunate to have such exceptional mathematics and science teachers in our public school classrooms. Students who graduate high school with a strong math and science foundation will be well-positioned for the high-demand careers for tomorrow’s economy.”

The PAEMST program, which is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country for their contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.

A panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators select the winners following an initial selection process at the state level. Nomination years alternate between teachers in the kindergarten through 6th grade level, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. This year’s recipients represent two nomination years, one of teachers in kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms, and the other in 7th through 12th grade classrooms.

Each recipient will receive a citation signed by President Obama and a $10,000 award from NSF to be used at their discretion. They also will travel to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony to be held Sept. 8.

Additional information regarding this year’s Presidential awardees, including information about the annual nomination and application process, is available online. Questions regarding North Carolina’s program should be directed to state mathematics coordinator Kitty Rutherford or state science coordinator Ragan Spain.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.