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Sanford Middle and Lake Mary High School Teachers Selected as 2005 Presidential Award State Finalists

Did your teacher ever take you to a theme park or use a model of a rollercoaster to teach physics concepts in class, allow you to learn fractions and angles by building a gingerbread house, or measure force and motion on the basketball court? Highly qualified science and mathematics teachers bring these types of lessons to life for their students.

Established by Congress in 1983, and administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation, the Presidential Awards allow for each state to select up to three mathematics and three science teachers as state finalists. From this field of state finalists, a maximum of 108 Presidential Awardees are selected representing the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. Recipients of the 2005 Presidential Awards will be announced during a week of celebration events in March 2006 in Washington, DC.

Two of these remarkable teachers are Kristen Springfield, a Mathematics teacher at Sanford Middle School, and Luther Davis III, a Science teacher at Lake Mary High School. They are being rewarded for their success in using innovative methods and strategies in their classrooms. Springfield and Davis have been named state finalists for the 2005 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation's highest honor for K-12 teaching in these fields.

Springfield's teaching style is key to her success in the classroom. "I view myself as a partner in learning. Although I might host much of the math content they need to learn, I recognize that if all I do is give my students the information, they will not internalize their learning," said Springfield. "Instead, I help them discover the big ideas in math rather than just memorizing the individual skills. By guiding them to see the patterns and relationship between the math topics they study, I help them become stronger math students who can apply their knowledge to various situations."

Davis' teaching style is key to his success in the classroom. "Science education enables students to gain an understanding and appreciation for their world by cultivating their curious minds. Everyday activities are pursued with much more passion when students have been taught the tools for perception and insight," explained Davis. "My teaching philosophy focuses on creative methods, goofy deliveries, and enthusiastic presentations."

The goal of the Presidential Awards is to identify and recognize highly qualified teachers. As part of the recognition process, Awardees will take part in a weeklong series of networking and professional development activities in Washington, DC. In addition, each Awardee will also receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. For more information about PAEMST, see forms and instructions available at: www.paemst.org.