In an announcement Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced three state-level finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), including Central High’s Brigit Minden.
Minden was the only one selected as a math finalist, though two others from Bartlesville — Cheryl Fentress — and Moore — Casey Lambert — were selected as science finalists.
Hofmeister said it takes a special kind of teacher to exude a model of excellence for students when it comes to excelling in math and science education.
“As demand increases for professionals proficient in higher math and science, exceptional teachers like Brigit, Cheryl and Casey are essential to preparing our students for college and successful careers,” Hofmeister said. “Their model for excellence shines a spotlight on education in Oklahoma and helps inspire others to enter the teaching profession. I congratulate them on receiving this well-deserved national recognition.”
Minden, who teaches high school math, earned the district’s Teacher of the Year in 2016. She has also served on the writing team for Oklahoma Mathematics Frameworks for three years, though her teaching career has lasted for nine years.
“I am passionate in sharing that no one is ‘bad at math,’” Minden said. “Most people just haven’t had the right experiences yet.”
According to the State Department of Education, finalists for PAEMST, established in 1983 as the highest recognition for K-12 math or science teachers, were chosen by a local selection committee of teachers, district-level personnel, representatives from higher education and past awardees. Awards alternate between elementary and secondary teachers each year.
Up to two Oklahoma finalists could be named national recipients of the award.
Those acknowledged as national recipients will represent all states and U.S. territories while also receiving “a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the President of the United States.”