7 MT teachers are state finalists in presidential awards

Seven Montana public school teachers have been selected as 2014 state finalists for the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). This is the nation’s highest honor for U.S. mathematics and science teachers in grades k-12.

A committee of Montana science and math teachers selected the seven finalists from a pool of 24 applicants statewide. The 2014 state award winners are:

Kara Nelson, Meadowlark Elementary School, Bozeman
Georgia LaForge, Hyalite Elementary School, Bozeman
Kami Heinz, Glacier Gateway Elementary School, Columbia Falls
Kristi Gaines, Meadowlark Elementary School, Bozeman
Barbara Pierre, Hyalite Elementary School, Bozeman

Colleen Windell, Lolo Junior High, Lolo
Mary Larsen, Jefferson Elementary School, Helena

State finalists completed a rigorous application process that incorporated video footage of classroom lessons along with substantial written documentation of impacts of their teaching methodology on student achievement.

The finalists’ applications were submitted to PAEMST (paemst.org), where a national panel of highly distinguished scientists and mathematicians will review submissions. From the pool of seven Montana finalists, the panel will choose one science teacher and one math teacher to receive this esteemed award.

Nationally, the awards program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House. In Montana, the state recognition program is sponsored and administered by the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation in association with the Montana Association of Presidential Awardees.

The 2014 Montana finalists will be honored at an awards dinner this fall.


The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, a nonprofit foundation based in Helena, works to encourage and promote excellent teaching and learning in Montana. The foundation’s programs include:
• Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching
• Montana Teacher of the Year Program
• Karen Cox Memorial Grant Program
• National Board Scholarships & Candidate Support
• Jim McGarvey Scholarship for Union Leadership in Public Education and Service

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