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A familiar face at Dean Morgan Junior High is honored with the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Along with this honor, Gene Smith will receive a $500 cash prize from the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE).
Mr. Smith currently teaches seventh grade advanced and regular earth science at Dean Morgan. During his 25 year teaching career, he has taught middle level science, world geography, and U.S. History. His dedication to the classroom has been recognized several times and he holds many awards including a five time winner of the Natrona County Excellence in Education Award, Wyoming Geology Teacher of The Year in 2010 and the Citizen Award for the Presentation of Cedar Ridge.
“His students and professional colleagues have described Mr. Smith as an exceptional teacher,” said Walt Wilcox, principal at Dean Morgan Junior High. “Year-after-year he has played a major role in helping his students build and construct mental and physical models that anchor their learning while discovering a love for science. He facilitates learning by actively involving students in the learning process through countless hands-on learning activities that promote student inquiry and active engagement. All of this happens as students are being held to high expectations while motivating them to continuously grow and learn.”
Along with Mr. Smith, Kim Parfitt of Cheyenne also received this honor.
According the Wyoming Department of Education, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a K-12 mathematics or science teacher can receive in the United States. Enacted by Congress in 1983, this program authorizes the President to present 108 awards each year. Each year, up to six finalists in each state are chosen for the Presidential Award through a rigorous peer review process, administered by the state coordinator for the award.
The applications of state winners are forwarded to the National Science Foundation where the final selection for the national Presidential Awardee is made. In the spring of 2014, the White House will announce the national Presidential Awardees for 2013.