Valle Crucis first grade teacher Katie Matthews has been named a North Carolina finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Matthews was honored along with five other finalists at a recent State Board of Education Meeting.
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teaching.
The awards — given to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teachers from each of the 50 states — recognize teachers have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas.
Two finalists from each state will be selected to be honored at the national level. State winners receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
Valle Crucis Principal Preston Clarke said Mathews’ work represented a great value for their school.
“Katie Matthews is the kind of teacher that every school deserves on the frontlines impacting and influencing their school community,” Clarke said. “She is great for students and for her colleagues. Mrs. Matthews has a genuine passion for students and their learning. She is an outstanding teacher, but an even better person. We are grateful for her continued commitment to improving public education as Valle Crucis School continues to benefit from her efforts.”
Watauga County Schools Chief Academic Officer Tamara Stamey, who nominated Matthews for the award, said her work was exemplary.
“Katie Matthews exemplifies the type of collaborative work across grade levels and schools that we value so much as public educators.” Stamey said. “Work like she’s doing at Valle Crucis is a sterling example of what’s going on in classrooms across Watauga, and the impact it has on students is enormous. Her teaching style makes science real and relevant, and that has so much value for her kids.”
Final winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from each state are typically announced over the summer.