Kareen Borders, a science teacher at Key Peninsula Middle School in the Peninsula School District, is one of the three teachers nominated from Washington state for the award.
She is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches general science at Key Peninsula and coordinates Key Peninsula’s NASA Explorers School Program.
Superintendent Announces Finalists for National Award
Three secondary teachers in Washington state named
OLYMPIA — Three teachers from Washington have been selected as state level finalists for the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
Meredith Clayton of Juanita High School (Kirkland), Nicola Wethall of Oak Harbor High School and Kareen Borders of Key Peninsula Middle School (Lakebay) were selected in June by statewide selection committees comprised of content area experts and award winning teachers. Their nominations were recently confirmed by the national PAEMST program.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn praised the selection committees for their nominees and expressed admiration for the teachers. “Igniting a passion for math and science is one the greatest contributions a teacher can make,” he said. “We are lucky to have teachers like Meredith, Nicola and Kareen, who spark and sustain that passion in their classrooms every day.”
The national PAEMST program will announce award recipients in the spring. State level finalists are recognized by regional and state math and science associations and will be invited to several events for Washington’s Exceptional Educators over the next year.
Meredith Clayton: Juanita High School, Lake Washington School District
Clayton is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches Honors and AP Chemistry. She is also a teacher on special assignment for her district, where she works on graduation standards and teacher training. In the classroom, Clayton is diligent about using multiple styles of instruction to connect with different types of learners. Among her colleagues in the district and around the state, she is respected as highly energetic and absolutely dedicated to student success.
“In her quest to provide exemplary teaching and learning opportunities for her students and colleagues, Meredith is a role model for both students and staff members alike,” said Gloria Heier, associate principal at Juanita High School.
Nichola Wethall: Oak Harbor High School, Oak Harbor School District
Wethall is a National Board Certified Teacher who covers a wide variety of math topics at Oak Harbor, from Pre-Algebra to AP Statistics. Her commitment to cooperative learning is evident in her classroom and her relationships with her colleagues. Wethall encourages her students to use an inquiry-based approach with her and with each other during their frequent group work. Outside of the classroom she coordinates the afterschool peer tutoring program and advises Oak Harbor’s National Honors Society.
Her principal, Dwight Lundstrom, praised her classroom culture, saying, “Her patience develops a trust with students that allows them to risk being wrong and learn from mistakes and triumphs.”
Kareen Borders: Key Peninsula Middle School, Peninsula School District
Borders is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches general science at Key Peninsula and the only middle school aerospace class in her district. She also coordinates Key Peninsula’s NASA Explorers School Program. She is a dedicated mentor to other teachers and recognizes strengthening the teaching profession as an important route to impacting student achievement. In the classroom, Borders is innovation in action, constantly looking for new ways to engage her students.
Jodi Kimizuka, a 5th grade science teacher at one of Key Peninsula’s feeder schools, recently collaborated with Borders on a multi-grade partnership. She praised Borders’ techniques and the impact they have had on students: “Assessments indicate that these students are excelling in their understanding of scientific concepts and their application. But more importantly, these students exhibit an excitement, a passion about science.”
About the Award
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest honor for a K-12 mathematics or science teacher. Awards are given annually to teachers from each of the 50 states four U.S. jurisdictions (Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; Department of Defense Schools; and the U.S. territories as a group: American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Each year the award alternated between elementary and secondary teachers. To be considered for the PAEMST, teachers must be nominated and complete a comprehensive application. A state selection committee reviews completed applications and may forward up to three nominations from each discipline to the national program for consideration.
According to the PAEMST Web site, “Teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science.”