(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Four Kentucky teachers have won the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The Kentucky Board of Education recognized the teachers at its Feb. 8 meeting in Frankfort.

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. The award typically alternates between educators teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grade; however, the awardees represent two nomination years, and therefore include kindergarten through 6th grade and 7th through 12th grade teachers.

The Kentucky winners are:

  • Kindergarten through 6th grade: Vivian Bowles, Kit Carson Elementary School (Madison County), science; Gina Kimery, Farmer Elementary School (Jefferson County), mathematics.
  • Seventh through 12th grade: Carly Baldwin, Boyd County High School, science; Christine Bickett, North Bullitt High School, (Bullitt County) mathematics.

The Kentucky educators were four of 213 teachers in the country to receive the award.

Vivian Bowles has taught at Kit Carson Elementary for 29 years and spent the past 13 years teaching 4th-grade science. Bowles encourages her students to think like scientists. The rigorous application process for the PAEMST gave Bowles a chance to reflect on her teaching, which she says involves nontraditional methods.

“I am passionate about conveying to my students that they are part of a great big world – and that it begins in their own backyards,” she said. “This award tells me it’s OK to have students dig in the dirt and look under rocks.”

Gina Kimery, who now teaches kindergarten at Farmer Elementary, has taught at four Jefferson County elementary schools over the last 18 years. In her classroom, Kimery uses technology to bring learning to life.

“This Presidential Award allows me to share the power of how carefully crafted technological experiences transform students into engaged learners,” she said. “Not only does this award validate experiential learning, but it also provides a forum for sharing how to ignite young minds.”

Carly Baldwin, who has been teaching for eight years, is a second-generation PAEMST winner. Baldwin’s mother, a middle school teacher, was one of the first recipients of the award for science. Baldwin urges her students to take ownership of their learning through passion projects that they research, create and present to their classmates.

“Receiving this award has always been a professional goal of mine, and I am humbled to meet this benchmark in my career,” she said. “I hope that through this award, I am able to show my students that I have never stopped learning and that I am always trying to improve my craft.”

Christine Bickett has been teaching mathematics at North Bullitt High School for 19 years. She’s also a Morehead State University Early College adjunct professor, which allows her to teach pre-calculus and calculus to her high school students for college credit.

“I am especially thankful to my parents, who instilled the importance of education. I welcome the opportunity to network with teachers from across the country and look forward to the new opportunities it will provide me,” she said. “This award is second only to igniting the spark for mathematics in my students.”

The PAEMST winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. The winners attended an awards ceremony in September in Washington, D.C., and received a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion.  

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