Hofmeister announces finalists for national math, science teaching award

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 24, 2019) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced today three state-level finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

This year’s secondary math and science finalists are

  • Brigit Minden, Central High Public Schools (Marlow)
  • Cheryl Fentress, Bartlesville Public Schools
  • Casey Lambert, Moore Public Schools

“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.”

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary teachers.

The finalists were chosen by a local selection committee of teachers, district-level personnel, representatives from higher education and past awardees. Each finalist demonstrated a mastery of math or science instruction and effective use of student assessments to improve student learning. Up to two Oklahoma finalists could be named national recipients of the award.

The national recipients represent all 50 states and U.S. territories. Winners will receive 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.

The math finalist:

mindenBrigit Minden teaches high school math at Central High Public School in Marlow. She was the district’s Teacher of the Year in 2016 and was on the writing team for the Oklahoma Mathematics Frameworks for three years. Minden has been teaching for nine years.

“I am passionate in sharing that no one is ‘bad at math.’ Most people just haven't had the right experiences, yet,” Minden said.

The science finalists:

fentressCheryl Fentress has 35 years of teaching experience and teaches ninth-grade honors biology at Bartlesville High School in Bartlesville. She is a member of the Bartlesville District Science Fair Board, was the 2019 Bartlesville High School Teacher of the Year and is the sponsor of student science fair projects at the local, state and international level.

“The teacher's task is to initiate the learning process and then get out of the way,” Fentress said, describing her teaching philosophy. “My job is to provide meaningful science experiences for students, then work together with them to build understanding of science concepts.”


lambertCasey Lambert has been teaching for nine years and teaches seventh-grade science and eighth-grade STEM at Moore West Junior High in Moore. She is pursuing her master’s degree in education, is the science department chair in her school and was the 2015 Teacher of the Year at Highland East Junior High in Moore. Lambert describes herself as a proud supporter of public education.

“I am proud to stand up with my fellow educators, parents and students to fight for what matters most – the education of each and every student in Oklahoma,” Lambert said.

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Last updated on September 24, 2019