Obama Names Westdale Elementary Teacher a Presidential Educator
- July 23, 2009
A Westdale Heights Academic Elementary Magnet School teacher has been tapped for the Presidential Awards for Excellence. President Barack Obama has named more than 100 science, math and engineering teachers and mentors as recipients of the award, including Westdale Height’s fourth-grade math teacher Debra Reynolds.
Reynolds will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Winners of the Presidential Teaching Award receive $10,000 awards in the fall from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for a White House awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.
“There is no higher calling than furthering the educational advancement of our nation’s young people and encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders,” said President Obama. “These awards represent a heartfelt salute of appreciation to a remarkable group of individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to helping others and in doing so have helped us all.”
Last spring, Reynold’s was named East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. She has taught fourth-grade Math at Westdale Heights Academic Elementary Magnet School for five years. She has a total of 26 years experience in the classroom. She also has taught at Forest Heights Elementary Magnet School locally, as well as at schools in other parts of Louisiana and in Texas.
Reynolds holds National Board Teacher Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist and earned Education Specialist and Certification for Teaching of Academically Gifted from LSU. She holds a master’s degree in Education, Elementary Education, Supervisor of Student Teaching from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education Grades 1-8 from the same university. Her memberships include the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics, the Baton Rouge Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics and other organizations. In 2008, Reynolds was a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and was nominated for the Louisiana Association of Teacher Educators’ Distinguished Clinician Award in Elementary Education.
Because her mother was a first-grade teacher for 43 years, Reynolds looked up to her and what she accomplished. “I believe that one of my greatest contributions to education as an educator is my ability to foster a love of learning in my students through meaningful experiences that relate mathematical concepts to the real world,” she said. “I do my best to prepare my students with the knowledge and experiences that they need to be successful students and life-long learners.”
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, awarded each year to individuals or organizations, recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering and who belong to minorities that are underrepresented in those fields. By offering their time, encouragement and expertise to these students, mentors help ensure that the next generation of scientists and engineers will better reflect the diversity of the United States.
Candidates for the Presidential Mentoring Award are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students from their home institutions. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 to advance their mentoring efforts.
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and math teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates, going either to science and math teachers in grades K through 6 (as it is this year) or to those teaching in grades 7 through 12.
For more information, contact Westdale Heights Principal Cheryl Singer or Reynolds at the school, (225) 926-5421, or contact Maria Zacharias at the National Science Foundation, (703) 292-8454, or Alice Potosky, (240) 747-4966.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
Subscribe to the EBRPSS eNews to receive our bi-weekly eNewsletter.