Jamie Beecher, a kindergarten teacher at Centennial Academy of Fine Arts, was selected as a Colorado finalist for the national 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). One of only three finalists selected from Colorado, she received her nomination award in a ceremony at the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference, held August 2 at the Cable Center at the University of Denver. The award was presented by Raymond Johnson, Mathematics Content Specialist from the Colorado Department of Education.
Beecher has 15 years of teaching experience in private and public schools - including 12 years with Littleton Public Schools.
“My students should drive and create their learning experiences so they can develop a stronger understanding of the curriculum. If we are learning about Hawaii, then my students get to create a ‘reading nook’ that represents something we have learned about Hawaii,” said Beecher. “Last year, that was a volcano big enough to have three students reading books inside of it. When learning about Alaska, my students created an igloo made out of milk jugs.”
Karla Gruenwald, principal at Centennial Elementary, was excited about Beecher’s state win. “Jamie exemplifies the best qualities of a teacher - she understands the connection between instruction, learning and the classroom environment,” said Gruenwald. “She always does what’s best for the students and has learned how to respond immediately to what her students need. She has changed lives with her teaching.”
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. The award recognizes teachers who develop and implement high-quality instructional programs that are informed by content knowledge and enhance student learning. Since the program's inception, more than 4,700 teachers have been recognized at the national level for their contributions in the classroom and for their contributions to the teaching profession.
At the state level, coordinators convene local selection committees, which include prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, district-level personnel and classroom teachers. These committees select up to three finalists from each award category (mathematics or science) for recognition at the state level.