Snook state finalist for math instructors

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching ... Philip’s Deb Snook has won one of the three berths and is in the running for top math instructor in the state of South Dakota. Secondary Principal Jeff Rieckman nominated her. “The award process is a very long an rigorous one,” said Snook. The PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science teacher may receive.

Deb Snook, mathematics and physics instructor at Philip High School, is one of three state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The three state finalists will give presentations at the South Dakota State Conference for Science and Mathematics Teachers, February 2-4, 2012, in Huron. They will be guests of honor at the conference's banquet and will receive certificates and plaques. All three are in the running for the national award.

The other two finalists for this award from the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics are Amy Boutchee, T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre, and Kristi Lutgen, Deubrook Area High School in White.

Each state selects three teachers who receive the state award, but only one wins the national award. All three finalists are state winners. The qualifications are sent to the national level. There judges select one of the three as the national winner for each state. The national winner for each state will be announced in the summer of 2012.

"This award process is a very long and rigorous one," said Snook. In odd years, such as 2011, middle school and high school teachers compete for the award. In even years, as in 2010, elementary teachers compete for the award.

The PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Enacted by Congress in 1983 and administered by the National Science Foundation, this program authorizes the president to bestow up to 108 awards each year.

In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

Every year, up to 108 national awardees each receive a $10,000 award, a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend a week-long series of networking opportunities and recognition events, and a special citation signed by the president of the United States. The national award will be announced by the president sometime before the national award week.

Anyone - principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public - may nominate a teacher. Snook was nominated by Haakon School District Secondary Principal Jeff Rieckman. An applicant must teach mathematics or science, hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, be a full-time employee of the school or school district, have at least five years of full-time mathematics or science teaching experience prior to the 2010-2011 academic school year and be a United States citizen.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching Program identifies outstanding mathematics and science teachers for kindergarten through 12th grade, in the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. These teachers are national role models for other educators to emulate, for students to admire, and for parents, administrators and communities to nurture. PAEMST awardees have been shown to devote more time to professional development, to incorporate innovative approaches into their classroom teaching and to be more likely to use computers and other technologies in their classrooms.