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JH High School teacher receives presidential award for excellence

JACKSON, Wyo. — A local math teacher was recognized for excellence this week. Jennifer Kelley, who teaches Algebra and AP Calculus at Jackson Hole High School, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). President Donald J. Trump made the announcement of the 2019 winners on Monday.

Kelley is joined by Aimee Kay as the only other Wyoming educator to receive the distinction. 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.

“This award inspires and encourages me to continue on my amazing journey as an educator,” Kelley said. In addition to teaching at the high school, she also teaches a concurrent enrollment class through Central Wyoming College. “It recognizes my desire to provide the best opportunities for all students to advance their knowledge and excitement in mathematics. It recognizes my desire to provide the best opportunities for all students to advance their knowledge and excitement in mathematics.”

Kelley has been an educator for 20 years. For eight years she has taught at Jackson Hole High School.

JHHS principal Dr. Scott Crisp called Kelley a master teacher.

“The award is one of, if not the, highest honor a science or math teacher can receive. Recipients of this award are required to submit documented objective teaching evidence that clearly reflects attributes of a master teacher,” Crisp said. “Jennifer represents a teaching professional in every sense, always learning, always trying new things to engage her students, always willing to look at herself deeply to be better every school year. Simply, a master teacher.”

Kay, a 7-8 grade science teacher at Thermopolis Middle School, commented, “The PAEMST award is an honor that has already connected me with a network of exceptional teachers around our state who are willing to share ideas and collaborate, inspiring my continued growth. I look forward to connecting with STEM teachers nationally as well. It has validated my efforts as I prepare the next generation of scientists and problem solvers to make the world a better place. Through it, I have also gained more confidence in my methods and a rejuvenated sense of purpose and passion.”

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.

“Aimee and Jennifer set the gold standard when it comes to teaching math and science to students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “It is befitting that they are being recognized for this prestigious honor.”

The awardees come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, and schools in four U.S. territories.

Each awardee will receive a certificate signed by President Trump and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees will also travel to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony at a future date.

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