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DC Educators Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

Monday, August 24, 2020
OSSE announces Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and DC History Teacher of the Year winners

Contact: Fred Lewis (OSSE), (202) 210-4050, [email protected]

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) announced today that Ashley Kearney from Ron Brown College Preparatory High School and William Stafford from E.L. Haynes Public Charter School are recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). OSSE also announced that Edward Donnellan from Gonzaga College High School has been named the 2020 District of Columbia History Teacher of the Year.

Established by Congress in 1983, PAEMST is the Nation’s highest distinction for K-12 teaching in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science).

Awardees are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning, along with their ability to help students make progress in STEM fields. In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the awards program is to showcase the highest standards of STEM teaching. Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States; a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF); professional development; and opportunities to discuss how to improve STEM education with policy-makers.

Ashley Kearney has been teaching mathematics in District of Columbia Public Schools for eight years. Her classroom is a bridge connecting the demand for exceptional mathematicians with the critical underrepresentation of persons of color in STEM. Her pedagogy affirms students’ identity, acknowledges their brilliance and assigns them roles such as engineers and analysts as they focus on reasoning through and solving real-world problems. Read her full bio here.

William “Will” Stafford has been teaching high school mathematics for 12 years in the District. He enjoys creating a welcoming and challenging classroom environment for students to develop as mathematicians. In his classroom, he uses research-based structures for collaboration that engage students and increase the transfer of knowledge between them as they solve problems. Read his full bio here.

Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award is presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K-12 American history education. The award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers, including one K-12 teacher from each state and US Territories. Recipients get a $1,000 honorarium and a core archive of history books and materials. In fall 2020, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners. Last year, the 2019 DC History Teacher of the Year, Alysha Butler from McKinley Tech High School, was selected as the national winner.

Edward Donnellan has been teaching for almost 20 years, and currently teaches US History, US Government, and Political Science at Gonzaga College High School in DC. He recently led a group of students in researching Gonzaga’s connection to slavery, which led to the creation of an exhibit, Searching for Truth in the Garden: Gonzaga College High School’s History with Slavery, that is currently on loan to The Ford’s Theater Museum.

“Great teachers have an incredible impact on the lives of our students. With the start of this new and unprecedented school year, we know the critical role of teachers will be elevated even more, as we seek to meet student needs and accelerate student growth in challenging circumstances,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “I am inspired by our award-winning teachers, the excellence they demonstrate in their instruction and their dedication to students and families. Congratulations, Ms. Kearney, Mr. Stafford, and Mr. Donnellan, for these recent honors and awards.”

Nominations for the 2021 History Teacher of the Year are now open at Nominations for the 2021 PAEMST award will open in the fall 2020 at