You’d have to look way back to October 2016 to find the first announcement from Wheeling Country Day School bragging up Margie Howells as a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.
After months of waiting and wondering, (and worrying from everyone at WCDS except Howells herself), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) finally announced Monday that she was indeed the 2016 PAEMST award winner for excellence in K-6 science education.
“Margie inspires children to think differently,” said Liz Hofreuter, head of school at WCDS. “Under her guidance they transform into mathematicians and scientists in the third grade. In her class, children find a spark for education that develops the intrinsic motivation vital to true learning.”
The PAEMST is the highest honor K-12 math and science teachers can receive from the federal government. It is only awarded after a rigorous application process that requires demonstration of content mastery as well as an ability to adapt to a variety of unique learners and learning environments. Each finalist is then vetted by a distinguished group of mathematicians and scientists before being recommended to the OSTP for final approval.
“On behalf of the White House I am honored to express the nation’s gratitude for the tireless dedication that these men and women bring to educating the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” said Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for Technology Policy. “Each day more and more jobs require a strong foundation in STEM education, so the work that you as teachers and mentors help ensure that all students can have access to limitless opportunities and the brightest of futures.”
Earlier this week, Howells was in Washington D.C., for the awards reception and STEM education symposium with officials from the NSF and OSTP, as well as her fellow award recipients, where she can share her voice for the improvement of science education in classrooms around the United States.