Two Oklahoma teachers are being nationally recognized for their outstanding teaching in science and mathematics.
Michelle Rahn of Will Rogers Junior High School in Claremore and Macey Stewart of Washington Elementary School in Norman are recipients of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive in the United States.
Both Rahn and Stewart will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. They also traveled to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony.
While in D.C., awardees got the chance to meet with business leaders and policy-makers to have input on the new national STEM(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Strategic Plan.
"They were extremely interested in hearing from classroom teachers on how to implement this new plan," Rahn said. "I want Oklahoma teachers to know that what they do every day in the classroom is valued by industry."
"Teachers in Oklahoma have such an important job to do ... getting our students ready to meet the needs of our nation in the 21st century," Rahn continued.
She encourages teachers to seek out professional development in their field that will excite them and reignite their passion for teaching.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister congratulated the finalists for their exceptional work raising student outcomes in math and science.
“Michelle and Macey represent the apex of quality instruction in science and mathematics,” Hofmeister said. “Because of their commitment to their craft, dedication to engaging all students and drive to discover creative classroom strategies, they are an inspiration to teachers and families. Their leadership is invaluable as Oklahoma progresses toward becoming a high-performing state in all-around academics and career-readiness.”
Michelle Rahn teaches sixth-grade science at Will Rogers Junior High in Claremore. Before that, she taught a kindergarten through fifth-grade science lab at Westside Elementary School and Central Upper Elementary School, also in Claremore.
"I'm extremely honored and grateful to have been recognized for something I love to do ... teaching," Rahn said. "I want to thank Patricia Turner from the K20 Center at OU for nominating me for this prestigious award."
In the classroom, Rahn utilizes inquiry-based lessons where students’ innate curiosity leads them to investigate their natural world. In 2015, Michelle received a Fund for Teachers Fellowship, where she created a course of professional development related to science instruction.
"Claremore Public Schools has been very supportive to allow me opportunities to teach science in an enriching and engaging way," Rahn said."I have been mentored by many amazing teachers in my district who also demonstrate excellence in educating our students."
She was also selected to attend the Mickelson Exxon-Mobil Teacher Academy, where she received training in the relationships between scientific inquiry and mathematical problem solving.
Macey Stewart teaches second grade at Washington Elementary in Norman Public Schools.
Macey’s teaching philosophy includes building a solid academic foundation for her students, providing the education they deserve regardless of their background, and making a difference in the world while raising a better generation for tomorrow.
Macey is a model math teacher in her district and trains others in effective teaching practices.