Kentuckians recognized for math, science teaching

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Two Kentucky teachers have won the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Andrew Kemp, a science teacher at Male High School (Jefferson Co.), and Robyn Morris, a mathematics teacher at East Oldham Middle School (Oldham Co.), are among 108 winners representing the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Department of Defense schools.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is given annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. Each year the award alternates between educators teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. This year’s awardees teach 7th through 12th grade.

Andrew Kemp
Andrew Kemp

Andrew Kemp has been a science educator for more than 30 years. In the past nine years, he has taught Chemistry I and Advanced Placement Chemistry at Louisville Male High School to 10th-12th graders. Prior to that, he taught science and education courses at the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Virtual High School, as well as Stockbridge High School and Shorter College in Georgia.

Kemp loves to bring his experience as a scientist into the classroom so students will understand the
concepts better, as well as think of science as a potential career.

“I challenge my students to learn something every day so they are continually improving themselves,” Kemp
said. “Receiving the Presidential Award is confirmation that I am working toward the right goal. I think it also signifies that I practice what I teach, that I continually try to learn and improve myself as a teacher.”

Kemp has presented at numerous science and education conferences from the local to the international
level. He is a co-author of seven science education journal articles, as well as a middle school science textbook.
Kemp has a B.S. in biology and chemistry from Shorter College, a M.S. in biology from Emory University,
and a Ph.D. in science education from the University of Georgia. He is certified to teach high school chemistry,
physics, biology, and earth/space sciences, as well as middle school science.

Robyn Morris
Robyn Morris

Robyn Morris has taught middle school math and social studies for 20 years, the past nine years she has taught 7th grade at East Oldham Middle School.

In her class, Morris concentrates on the workshop model, where students have a mini-lesson, group work time, and reflection time. Additionally, throughout the unit, students are given engaging tasks, asking them to transfer their learning to new situations.

“The distinction of receiving the Presidential Award is an opportunity to bring the importance of mathematics education throughout life to the forefront of the nation’s attention,” she said. “It is a chance for educators who are passionate and dedicated to make engaging mathematics available to all students. As more students become actively involved in STEM-related activities, the Presidential Award helps to highlight the skills that will help provide a successful future.”

Through the years, Morris has served as a school level math department chair, as a member of the Oldham County Schools math committee that developed and implemented the Kentucky Academic Standards in mathematics in the district, and as a member of the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative Math Leadership Network that helped with the implementation of the new mathematics standards statewide.

Morris received a B.S. in Business Administration and a M.A.T in middle school math and social studies, both from the University of Louisville. She also earned National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Mathematics.

The PAEMST winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion and will be invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony later this year.

“These teachers are shaping America’s success through their passion for math and science,” President Obama said in announcing the winners. “Their leadership and commitment empower our children to think critically and creatively about science, technology, engineering, and math. The work these teachers are doing in our classrooms today will help ensure that America stays on the cutting edge tomorrow.”

For more information about PAEMST, visit www.paemst.org.

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