When Peck Place students returned back to school last week, there was a celebrity of sorts among them—a math celebrity. Nicole Gilson, a fifth grade teacher, is one of 213 teachers across the country recognized by President Obama as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. These awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The educators will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, DC on September 8.
“I am very excited to be joining my colleagues being honored nationally for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in Washington, DC September 7 – 9th,” Gilson said. “I am so fortunate that I teach in a district that fosters such a strong professional learning community. Teachers in Orange are provided with outstanding professional development opportunities led by a very knowledge team of consultants. It is because of this support I have been given opportunities to be creative in my teaching practices.”
She said her colleagues and principal were also incredibly supportive of the process. “The true credit really goes to the students I teach,” she said, “Especially the class that endured the video taping of math lessons. They were so excited to be a part of something so big and rose to the challenge. They were enthusiastic and engaged. We were a great team and I wish I could take them all with me to Washington, DC.”
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. Each nomination year of the award alternates between teachers in the kindergarten through 6th grade level and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The cohort of awardees named in August represent two nomination years, one of teachers in kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms and the other in 7th through 12th grade classrooms.
Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion, and are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony, as well educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration.
“The recipients of this award are integral to ensuring our students are equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are vital to our Nation’s success,” President Obama said in a press release. “As the United States continues to lead the way in the innovation that is shaping our future, these excellent teachers are preparing students from all corners of the country with the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills that help keep us on the cutting-edge.”
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent