Graphic shows photos of the Kentucky PAEMST award finalists: Emily Lehman, Rhoda Whitaker, Jennifer McCafferty and Christina Morris(FRANKFORT, KY) – Four Kentucky educators have been selected as state finalists and are now eligible to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest honor for K–12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science teachers.

Each year, a national committee of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics and science education researchers, district level personnel and classroom teachers recommends up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. The award is given to up to two teachers in mathematics and/or science from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, along with schools operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity in the United States and overseas. 

Teachers who are selected as PAEMST awardees receive a trip to Washington, D.C., where they attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. They also receive a $10,000 award from NSF, a presidential certificate, and join an elite cohort of award-winning teachers who can influence state/jurisdiction and national STEM teaching.

State selection committees consisting of prominent advisers in mathematics or science education, district-level personnel and/or classroom teachers reviewed Kentucky applications. These applications were evaluated using the review criteria and scoring information provided by the National Science Foundation.

The finalists include:

2024 State Finalists in Mathematics

  • Emily Lehman, W.R. McNeill Elementary School (Bowling Green).
  • Rhoda Whitaker, North Washington Elementary School (Washington County).

2024 State Finalists in Science

  • Jennifer McCafferty, North Calloway Elementary School (Calloway County).
  • Christina Morris, Crofton Elementary School (Christian County).

Lehman was also honored recently as the Kentucky Board of Education’s 2024 Robinson Award for Diversity and Equity in Public Education recipient.

The awards program is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.