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Teacher Wins Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching

March 22, 2002
President George W. Bush has named Glenallan Elementary School teacher Kristi Cameron as a recipient of the 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award is the nation's most prestigious honor for a K-12 math or science teacher.

Cameron, a math/science support teacher at Glenallan, was named a finalist in the elementary science category in Maryland last spring.

A national panel of experts in education selects up to 216 national winners -- one in each of four award categories -- from every state and jurisdiction of the United States. Award categories are elementary science, secondary science, elementary mathematics and secondary mathematics. Cameron is the only Maryland teacher to receive the national award this year, and she was the only state finalist nominated by the Maryland State Department of Education. Each state may select up to three finalists, nominated by local school districts, in each of the four award categories.

Winners are selected for their excellent teaching, educational philosophy and classroom application, ability to engage students in hands-on inquiry, experimental and innovative approach to teaching, and professional involvement and leadership.

At Glenallan, Cameron's goal is to encourage students to develop a lifetime interest in scientific discovery and to demonstrate ways that science affects their lives. One outcome is the Gatorville Outdoor Classroom that students designed and constructed under Cameron's direction. The wetland environment was funded with a $9,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. She also developed and designed materials to be used in teaching different units of study for the various grade levels and coordinated a unified approach to using the Gatorville classroom.

Among her numerous activities, Cameron has participated in the Howard Hughes Student Inquiry Project, a two-year commitment for science teachers to consult with peers and expert scientists on how to develop inquiry-based science units that incorporate state and national standards. One result was a unit she wrote on aquatic microorganisms, which was implemented last spring.

Cameron was honored for her achievements as part of a five-day event for all Presidential Award winners that began March 19 in Washington, D.C. The week included activities that highlight leadership abilities and enabled the award winners to become part of a growing national network of exceptional teachers.

The Presidential Awards program is administered by the National Science Foundation with assistance from the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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