Four Wyoming teachers – Emmy Hergert, Rick Simineo, Charity Penn, and London Jenks – have been selected as the 2023 state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). That's according to a release by the Wyoming Department of Education.

PAEMST is the highest recognition that K-12 mathematics, science, or computer science teachers can receive in the U.S. Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation.

Hergert teaches seventh-grade math at Thermopolis Middle School; Simineo teaches math at East High School in Cheyenne; Penn teaches science at Douglas Middle School in Douglas; and Jenks teaches physics, environmental science, earth systems/space science at Hot Springs County High School in Thermopolis. Penn also is a 2021 finalist in the science cohort, which has yet to be awarded on PAEMST’s two-year cycle.

Each year, up to six finalists in each state are chosen for the award through a rigorous peer review process. The applications are forwarded to the National Science Foundation, where the final selection for the national Presidential Awardee is made. Enacted by Congress in 1983, the program authorizes the President to award 108 math and science teachers each year in recognition of their contribution to excellent teaching and learning.

Award recipients receive the following:

  • 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.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.

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