Misty Ruth, a teacher in the Pasadena Independent School District, and Denise Koontz, a teacher in the Keller Independent School District, have been selected as national winners representing Texas for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. PAEMST is the highest recognition a mathematics or science teacher may receive for exemplary teaching in the United States. 

“I congratulate Denise Koontz and Misty Ruth on this national recognition,” Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a statement. “These two teachers are representative of the outstanding work taking place in math and science classrooms across our state.”

In 2016, Ruth and Koontz were announced as finalists from Texas and were part of the Grades K-6PAEMST Award Cohort — Ruth for elementary mathematics and Koontz for elementary science. At that time, Ruth, a TCTA member since 2002, taught kindergarten at Young Elementary School in Pasadena ISD. She is currently a dyslexia and intervention teacher at Pomeroy Elementary School in Pasadena ISD. Koontz teaches fifth grade at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller ISD.

To achieve recognition through this program, a teacher first must be nominated or apply for the award. A state panel of master teachers, content specialists, and administrators reviewed the applications and chose the ten most outstanding mathematics and ten most outstanding science teachers for the National Science Foundation to consider for national awardee status.  

A national committee of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators each year recommends up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. Up to two teachers from each state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories as a group, and the schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity may be selected for the award.

As PAEMST awardees, Koontz and Ruth will 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 National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on the behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. For additional information about the PAEMST program, click here