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State honors EMS science, math teacher

State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced that six teachers from Washington, including Enumclaw Middle School’s Kimberly Taylor and Andrew Means, have been selected as state-level finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Joining Taylor and Means as finalist are Robert Ettinger of Asa Mercer Middle School, John Gallagher of Port Angeles High School, George Christoph of River Ridge High School and Nathan Shields of Fort Vancouver High School.

The finalists were selected in June by a statewide selection committee comprised of content area experts and award-winning teachers. Their nominations were recently confirmed by the national PAEMST program.

“The finalists are all teaching in a wide variety of settings, but they share the common commitment of building great relationships with their students and showing a passion for math and science,” Dorn said. “By focusing on the individual needs of students and getting creative in their classrooms, these model teachers have opened a world of possibilities for their students.”

The national PAEMST program typically announces national award recipients in the spring. State-level finalists are recognized by regional and state math and science associations and will be invited to several events for Washington’s Exceptional Educators during the next year.

 

Kimberly Taylor, seventh- and eighth-grade science

Enumclaw Middle School, Enumclaw

Taylor is a National Board Certified Teacher whose classroom is literally alive with science. Terrariums, aquariums and various animal inhabitants create an environment that instantly engages students and visitors alike. Her rigorous and imaginative classes, such as forensic science, are much sought after by students of all aptitudes and ability levels. Taylor’s respect for the skills students bring into the classroom and her willingness to share her own academic struggles creates a culture of trust where all students are inspired to greater challenge. Joseph Martin, a manager with the Muckleshoot tribe and parent, calls Taylor a “paradigm shifting educator…who challenges her students to push their limits and build their critical thinking skills with high level work.”

 

Andrew Means, seventh-grade math and eighth-grade algebra

Means is a National Board Certified Teacher, a masterful instructor and a catalyst for profound growth at his school and across the district. Means builds intellectual confidence in his students with a focus on student accountability and remarkable ability to lead them through self-assessment using probing questions. These techniques have helped set the stage to introduce more challenge into the math curriculum at his school. Three years ago, he led a teacher-driven initiative to build more rigor by teaching algebra 1 to all students at Enumclaw Middle School. Colleagues credit this move along with Means’ expert leadership and professional mentorship with their significant gains in MSP scores at all grade levels. Terry Parker, Enumclaw’s director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, praises Means, saying, “He is a person of exceptional talent and character. He possesses a special ability to inspire young people in his mathematics classroom...and I consider him among the finest teachers with whom I have worked in my career.”

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