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Southeast teachers selected as finalists for presidential award

by Staff report | September 16, 2021 at 2:44 a.m.
A fourth-grade elementary school student writes in math class in this Dec. 16, 2018, file photo. (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

Two of the six Arkansas teachers selected as state finalists for a presidential award teach in the southeast corner of the state.

Jay Bly of DeWitt High School and Diana Taylor of Rison High School are finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. They and Wes Davis of Cabot High School were selected out of a pool of nominees for the math award from the National Science Foundation, which on behalf of the White House oversees the program that recognizes outstanding science, technology, engineering and math teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to professional development, innovative teaching techniques and technology use in their classrooms, according to a news release.

Science finalists are Patrycja Krakowiak of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, Marc Reif of Fayetteville High School and Jeffrey Rice of Fort Smith Southside High School.

In all, 47 Arkansas teachers were nominated for these honors.

"I am extremely proud of these six educators for being named state finalists for this national honor," Education Secretary Johnny Key said in the release. "These educators represent the best of the best in their fields, and because of their excellence in the classroom, their students will be prepared for the future. Congratulations!"

A national committee of scientists, mathematicians and educators will review the finalists' applications and recommend up to 108 teachers to receive these awards, according to the release. Winners are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories and schools operated in the U.S. and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Teachers who are selected as national award winners each receive a $10,000 award, a presidential citation and a trip to Washington, D.C., for a series of recognition events, professional development activities and an awards ceremony.

The deadline to apply for the 2022 awards is Jan. 7. Details:

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