RPSB teacher named finalist for national award

RPSB Teacher Named Finalist for National Award
Posted on 11/17/2021
RPSB teacher named finalist

Alexandria, La (RPSB) - November 4, 2021 will be a day that Heather Warner, a Caroline Dorman Jr. High Science teacher, will remember forever, as she was honored as a 2020 state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The PAEMST awards are the highest honors for educators bestowed by the United States government. Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Warner, along with several other teachers and state faculty, attended a recognition luncheon at the Governor's Mansion in Baton Rogue to honor the 2019 Awardees and the 2020 State Finalists.

When asked about what it means to be a state finalist for the award, Warner says "It's a humbling experience to be nominated and recognized. It's also an honor to represent Rapides Parish as one of two finalists in Louisiana for the Presidential Award."

To be nominated for the PAEMST award, applicants must meet a criteria to be eligible. To be eligible, a teacher must meet seven different qualifications, with some including:

1. Teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science in the K-6 grade level as part of their contracted teaching responsibilities.

2. Have at least five years of full-time experience as a K-12 teacher, with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science being a part of the applicant's teaching duties each of the five years.

3. Not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.

When talking about the process of applying and being nominated, Warner says "The application process involves reflecting on your teaching practices through the five dimensions of outstanding teaching, a thirty minute video of a lesson, and various supplemental materials. I highly encourage anyone that is nominated to complete the application process."

Throughout her years as a teacher, Warner has not only met the requirements to be nominated as a PAEMST finalist, but she's made an impact to her students while meeting the eligibility standards. Her students have helped clean the environment by taking debris from a local beach and sending data of it to a national organizations ,and they have helped restore a national park in Costa Rica through a coastal conservation program. They have raised money to adopt a sea turtle hatching and emperor penguin through the World Wildlife Fund  ,and her students have collected money to send supplies to Hurricane Laure victims in Lake Charles, Louisiana. 

It's experiences that Warner and her students have created together, as to why she believes anyone can make an impact, no matter who you are. She wants teachers and students to know that they can go beyond the four walls of their classrooms. She says "Find your passion and use it to make contributions in your community, in Louisiana and in the nation. Striving to lead by example, I hope to inspire my students to follow their dreams and passions. I tell my students that dreaming big is never enough. They need to dream the impossible. Children are our greatest investment and will one day cure devastating diseases, land on distant planets, solve the hunger crisis and lead us into the next stage of technological advancements. My ultimate goal is to provide the means necessary for them to make the world a better place, to think beyond their capabilities and to recognize that learning from one another, through discovery, is the key to making things happen."

Warner and several other 2020 finalists will travel to Washington D.C. where they will attend a ceremony, learn professional development opportunities and discuss with policy-makers on how to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

 

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