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Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)


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The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the Nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

Since the program's inception, more than 4,800 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. If you know great teachers, nominate them to join this prestigious network of professionals.

In 2020 Elementary teachers (kindergarten - 6th grade) may apply. The application is due May 1, 2020.

In 2021 Secondary school teachers (grades 7 - 12) may apply. The application is due May 1, 2021.

Presidential Award Website

2016 Mathematics Awardee

Zachry Christensen

Zachry Christensen

"The Presidential Award is a humbling honor. I have been blessed to work with colleagues who teach me, inspire me, and support me on a daily basis. I am proud to have spent my career in Des Moines, working at a school with such a diverse group of wonderful, hardworking students. This award is truly a reflection of the work of many, and represents the power of collaboration, ongoing professional development, a loving family, and a supportive school community."

Zachry Christensen has been an educator for 17 years, teaching first, second, and fourth grades at Perkins Elementary School where he now serves as an interventionist and instructional coach. Additionally, Zachry spent two years in the Curriculum Department of Des Moines Public Schools, serving as a mathematics trainer.

Zachry 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.

Zachry has presented professional development at the local, state, and national levels. He has served as a Cognitively Guided Instruction trainer and an item writer and reviewer for multiple national assessments. He is a member of his building and district leadership teams and Iowa’s State Mathematics Leadership Team.

Zachry earned a B.A. in elementary education from Simpson College and a M.A. in education from Viterbo University. In addition to being certified as a kindergarten through sixth grade classroom and reading teacher, he is certified to teach K-12 language arts and French.

Mathematics Past Awardees

See the biographies of Iowa's past awardees on the national PAEMST website.

Year Type Name School City
2016 K-6 Zachry Christensen Perkins Elementary School Des Moines
2015 7-12 Richard Brooks Johnston High School Johnston
2014 K-6 Ann Johnson Sageville Elementary School Dubuque
2013 7-12 Allysen Lovstuen Decorah High School Decorah
2013 7-12 Brian Reece Central Academy Des Moines
2012 K-6 Josie Burg Downtown School Des Moines
2011 7-12 Karla Digmann George Washington Middle School Dubuque
2010 K-6 Barbara Leise Downtown School Des Moines
2009 7-12 Matthew Miller George Washington High School Cedar Rapids
2008 K-6 Mary Black Irving Elementary School Dubuque
2007 7-12 Susan Royer Kuemper Catholic School System Carroll
2006 K-6 Jennifer Johnson Jefferson Elementary School Des Moines
2005 7-12 Linda Seeger Okoboji High School Milford
2004 K-6 Marcia Carlson Crestview Elementary School Clive
2003 7-12 Virginia Swenson Ames High School Ames
2002 7-12 Margaret Magner Independence Middle School Independence
2002 K-6 Christina Nugent Fulton School Dubuque
2001 7-12 Angelia Shindelar Nodaway Valley Middle School Fontanelle
2001 K-6 Denise Carlson Gilbert Elementary School Gilbert
2000 7-12 Debra Tvrdik Fort Dodge Senior High School Fort Dodge
2000 K-6 Annette Louk Webster City Middle School Webster City
1999 7-12 Jean Krusi Ames Middle School Ames
1999 K-6 Diana Schmidt Edwards Elementary School Ames
1998 7-12 Mary Dilts Theodore Roosevelt High School Des Moines
1998 K-6 Pamela Fox Titan Hill Intermediate School Council Bluffs
1997 7-12 Joseph Zimmerman Central Academy Des Moines
1997 K-6 Karen Voss Merrill Middle School Des Moines
1996 7-12 Cheryl Ross Mason City High School Mason City
1996 K-6 Christine Schultz Abraham Lincoln High School Council Bluffs
1995 7-12 Michael Link Central Academy Des Moines
1995 K-6 Jacquelin Smith Malcolm Price Laboratory School  Cedar Falls
1994 7-12 Bret Hoyer John F. Kennedy High School Cedar Rapids
1994 K-6 Karen Hoiberg Abbie Sawyer Elementary School Ames
1993 7-12 Ronald Fox Lewis Central High School Council Bluffs
1993 K-6 Mary Elizabeth Jorgensen Kate Wickham Elementary Coralville
1992 7-12 Jill Moser Stilwell Junior High School West Des Moines
1992 K-6 Eleanor Thomas Northwood Elementary School Ames
1991 7-12 Curtis Tauke Monticello Middle/High School Monticello
1991 K-6 Judy Christiansen West Ridge Elementary School Harlan
1990 7-12 James Maltas Malcolm Price Laboratory School Cedar Falls
1990 K-6 Shelva Boyd Gertrude Fellows Elementary School Ames
1989 7-12 Earl Ockenga Malcolm Price Laboratory School Cedar Falls
1988 7-12 Pauline Antons Midland Community Wyoming
1987 7-12 David Griffin Bettendorf Middle School Bettendorf
1986 7-12 Christopher Olsen George Washington Senior High School Cedar Rapids
1985 7-12 Tom Meskel Mason City High School Mason City
1984 7-12 Karen Dotseth Cedar Falls High School Cedar Falls
1983 7-12 Roger Fuerstenberg Sudlow Junior High School Davenport

2016 Science Awardee

Ashley Flatebo

Ashley Flatebo

"Being honored with the Presidential Award is both exciting and humbling. I am so proud of the work the professionals in my district do each day to enrich student learning, and I know that without their support I would not be the teacher I am today. I am encouraged and excited by this award to continue challenging students to take risks in their learning and engage in their passions to prepare them for the future they may choose."

Ashley Flatebo 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--taking advantage of multiple STEM 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.

Ashley was accepted to the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in 2012 and the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy in 2014. She has presented at many different conferences for STEM and the Iowa Core over the past six years.

Ashley earned a B.A. in elementary and middle level education from the University of Northern Iowa with a basic science minor. She holds a reading endorsement from Buena Vista University, and a M.A. in education from Morningside College. She is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade.

Science Past Awardees

See the biographies of Iowa's past awardees on the national PAEMST website.

Year Type Name School City
2016 K-6 Ashley Flatebo Lincoln Intermediate Mason City
2015 7-12 Lynnetta Bleeker Parkview Middle School Ankeny
2014 K-6 Joshua Steenhoek Jefferson Intermediate School Pella
2013 7-12 No award given in this area.    
2012 K-6 Mason Kuhn Shell Rock Elementary Shell Rock
2011 7-12 Jody Stone Northern University High School Cedar Falls
2010 K-6 Brandon Schrauth Beaver Creek Elementary Johnston
2009 7-12 Jessica Gogerty North High School Des Moines
2008 K-6 Michelle Harris Anita Elementary School Anita
2007 7-12 Justine Heckman Abraham Lincoln High School Council Bluffs
2005 7-12 Danielle Spaete Pleasant Valley High School Pleasant Valley
2004 K-6 Kari Ringgenberg-Pingel Jefferson Elementary School Pella
2003 7-12 Kevin Brasser South O'Brien School Paullina
2002 7-12 Susan Vogel Thomas Jefferson High School Cedar Rapids
2001 7-12 Julie Townsend Parkview Middle School Ankeny
2000 7-12 Yvette McCulley Kirn Jr. High School Council Bluffs
2000 K-6 Susan Haugen Kennedy Elementary School Dubuque
1999 7-12 Lyn Countryman Malcolm Price Laboratory School Cedar Falls
1999 K-6 Karla Snodgrass Western Hills Elementary School West Des Moines
1998 7-12 James Hurley Waverly-Shell Rock High School Waverly
1998 K-6 Jeanne Burns Gunn Elementary School Council Bluffs
1997 7-12 Curtis Froyen Knoxville High School Knoxville
1997 K-6 Shelba Oberto Colfax-Mingo Elementary School Des Moines
1996 7-12 John Kounas Westwood High School Sloan
1996 K-6 Elizabeth Laughlin North Hill Elementary School Burlington
1995 7-12 Karen Sievers Callanan Middle School Des Moines
1995 K-6 Margaret Ann Sadeghpour-Kramer North Cedar Middle School  Clarence
1994 7-12 Ernest Schiller Central Lee High School Donnellson
1994 K-6 James Christensen Galva-Holstein Middle School Galva
1993 7-12 Hector Ibarra West Branch Middle School West Branch
1993 K-6 Cindy Roberts Wall Lake-View Auburn Schools Wall Lake
1992 7-12 Daniel McGrail Carlisle High School Carlisle
1992 K-6 C. Christensen Malcolm Price Laboratory Schooll Cedar Falls
1991 7-12 Theresa Knapp Holtzclaw Valley High School West Des Moines
1991 K-6 Joan Braunagel McShane Jefferson Elementary School Davenport
1990 7-12 Jan Wielert Iowa City West High School   Iowa City
1990 K-6 Suzanne Kelly Warren H. Meeker Elementary School Ames
1989 7-12 Floyd Sturtevant Ames High School Ames
1988 7-12 Morgan Masters Chariton Community Schools Chariton
1987 7-12 Sandra Walton Dubuque Senior High School Dubuque
1986 7-12 Ross Iverson Miller Junior High School Marshalltown
1985 7-12 Donald Schaefer Bettendorf High School Bettendorf
1984 7-12 Kenneth Hartman Ames Junior High School Ames
1983 7-12 Karen Stiles Nathan Week Transitional Des Moines


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 17, 2021 at 2:39am.