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Top of her Field: Carroll County Science Teacher and McDaniel College Alumna Honored as One of Best in US

The Baltimore Sun

November 4, 2019


Denise Kresslein, a life science teacher at North Carroll Middle School, was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) recently in a ceremony in Washington D.C.

The award is the highest honor given by the U.S. Government to kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers of mathematics and science. It is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Each awardee received a citation signed by President Trump and a $10,000 award from NSF.

Noah Scholl, a science teacher at Mt. Airy Middle School, was a finalist for the award.

Kresslein was nominated by her supervisor Jim Peters in November of 2017, when she was a teacher at West Middle School. She got the notice this September that she was in the running for the award but had to keep it secret from almost everyone until the White House officially announced the news in mid-October. She began teaching at North Carroll Middle School this year in seventh-grade science.

Peters said that he does not make nominations for the award lightly.

“When I think about my children, who would I want them to have as a science teacher?" he said. "She certainty would be at the top of that list.”

Kresslein has always been an excellent classroom teacher, he said, but as the school system has adopted Next Generation Science Standards, she has been a leader. Not only do her students benefit from having her in the classroom, but other teachers benefit from the professional development she leads, the curriculum she writes and the state committees she serves on.

What the system is looking for is a “paradigm shift past teaching, more toward learning, more toward figuring things out,” he said.

The application packet for the award was hefty and asked Kresslein to scrutinize her own work closely.