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Four Kansas educators receive national recognition for math, science teaching

Posted: Aug 23, 2016
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

TOPEKA — Four Kansas educators have been named as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The two teachers selected for 2014 are Michelle Kelly (math), Basehor Elementary School, Basehor-Linwood Unified School District 458, and Brandi Leggett, (science), formerly of Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee, De Soto USD 232, and currently with Rose Hill Elementary School in Lenexa, Shawnee Mission USD 512.

The two teachers named for 2015 are Trissa McCabe (math), Reno Valley Middle School in Hutchinson, Nickerson USD 309, and Denise Scribner (science), Eisenhower High School, Goddard USD 265.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. Winners are selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.

Each nomination year of the award alternates between teachers in the kindergarten through sixth-grade level and those teaching in seventh- through 12th-grade classrooms.

Winners each receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. Each winner also is invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony, which is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Overall, 213 mathematics and science teachers were announced. Awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools.

More information about the Kansas winners:

Brandi Leggett (Science, 2014): Currently an instructional coach at Rosehill Elementary School in Lenexa, Leggett taught third-grade students for six years at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee.

Leggett also has been named Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year, USD 232 Teacher of the Year, Major League Soccer Works Community MVP, Veteran of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year, PBS Lead Teacher Innovator, Fox 4 Crystal Apple Award, ING Unsung Hero, Kansas Learning Forward Impact Award and Philadelphia Phillies Teacher All-Star.

Leggett has a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Temple University (Pennsylvania) and a master’s degree in elementary education from Arcadia University (Pennsylvania).

Michelle Kelly (Math, 2014): An educator for 11 years, Kelly has taught kindergarten and first-grade students at Basehor Elementary School for the past six years.

She was Basehor-Linwood’s District Teacher of the Year in 2014 and Robinson Elementary’s Teacher of the Year in 2010. She has presented at state-level conferences, including the Kansas Excellence in Math and Science Conference and the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals Spring Retreat.

Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grand Valley State University (Michigan), as well as a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in early childhood unified, both from Emporia State University. She is certified to teach birth through sixth-grade students.

Denise Scribner (Science, 2015): Scribner served as a staff member with Girls Scouts of the USA for 31 years, spending countless hours supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and outdoor education activities. She has spent the past nine years at Eisenhower High School teaching ecology, biology and forensic crime science-career and technical law enforcement classes.

Scribner has been nationally published, has presented at numerous professional development workshops and has served on a statewide committee to create the Environmental Literacy Plan for Kansas.

She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Emporia State University and is Kansas licensed and certified in biology, zoology and physical education.

Trissa McCabe (Math, 2015): McCabe has been teaching since 1995. Currently, she teaches mathematics at Reno Valley Middle School, where she has taught for 15 years. Prior to that, McCabe taught algebra I and mathematics for six years.

Most recently, as the Lead Math Writer for the consulting firm Cross and Joftus, McCabe created a fifth- through eighth-grade mathematics curriculum to align with social justice themes, such as freedom and voice, for an after-school program. She also has had a published lesson in the mathematics teaching in the “Middle School Journal,” and she has been named the Kansas Technology Rich Classroom Teacher of the year. She has received training in Engineering by Design to help promote STEM education and cross-curricular lessons.

McCabe earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Wichita State University. She is a certified kindergarten through eighth-grade teacher with an emphasis in mathematics.

For more information, visit www.paemst.org.

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