2 Iowa educators receive presidential awards
Zachry Christensen and Ashley Flatebo have been selected to receive Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
Christensen is an interventionist and instructional coach at Perkins Elementary School in Des Moines. Christensen has been a mathematics educator for 17 years. Additionally, Christensen spent two years in the curriculum department of Des Moines Public Schools, serving as a mathematics trainer.
Christensen works to make sure mathematics is presented in a context that is meaningful and engaging to his students. His students collaborate daily to solve rich tasks and work to discover solutions and strategies based on their flexible understanding of problems and numbers. He strives to make his classroom a place where mistakes are valued, risks are rewarded, and all students feel confident in their abilities as mathematicians.
Flatebo previously worked at Lincoln Intermediate in Mason City and currently works at John Adams Middle School. She has been an instructional coach in the Mason City School District for the past school year. She has also taught fifth grade science and social studies at Lincoln Intermediate, as well as sixth grade science and reading, and eighth grade science at John Adams Middle School during her 13-year career in the Mason City Community School District.
Her belief in providing students with experiences to enrich their learning has led her to coach FIRST LEGO League, as well as to judge, plan, and host VEX Robotics tournaments by taking advantage of multiple STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grants to support these activities and benefit her students. She has also planned a community STEAM Festival at Lincoln Intermediate for three years where local businesses show students how their STEM learning applies outside of the classroom.
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a kindergarten-through-12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year. Since 1983, more than 4,700 teachers nationwide have been recognized for this honor.
The PAEMST program, administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding teachers for their contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.
Each awardee will receive a citation signed by President Trump and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees will also travel to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony at a later date.