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Wisconsin Teachers Honored with Presidential Teaching Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Department of Public Instruction congratulates four Wisconsin teachers named as recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

They are Michelle Howe from Lodi; Rick Erickson from Bayfield; Kevin Reese from Clintonville; and Rebecca Saeman from Middleton.

According to the PAEMST website, the awards are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science teaching, established by Congress in 1983.

Award winners receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a trip to Washington D.C. for recognition and professional learning opportunities, and $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Keep reading to learn more about these amazing educators.

Michelle HoweMichelle Howe has taught sixth-grade science and middle school agricultural science classes at Lodi Middle School for the past 12 years.

She enthusiastically digs into all sorts of opportunities for herself and her students, including spending a week on a research vessel on the Great Lakes and a week in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. She brings her students to science events in Madison and runs multiple fundraisers throughout the year for Reach Out Lodi, a community food and resource hub. Howe serves as a science department chair, sixth-grade team leader, and STEM Fair chair.


Rick Erickson

Rick Erickson teaches chemistry and physics at Bayfield High School as well as five periods of an alternative education program, a science and project-based experiential learning program he created. He has taught for 35 years, 25 of them at Bayfield.

Erickson works diligently in getting his students, particularly Native American students, involved in meaningful local projects. He learned Ojibwe to be able to better connect to his students and their culture. He creates engaging learning experiences for students by working with scientists from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the National Park Service, and Northland College.

Erickson was a 2013-14 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year.


Kevin Reese

Kevin Reese has been a mathematics teacher at Clintonville High School for his entire 17-year teaching career. He is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, permitting qualified students in his Pre-Calculus, Statistics, and Calculus courses to earn dual credit. Reese works to incorporate student-centered activities that everyone can grasp while ensuring high learning potential.

In addition to leadership roles within his mathematics department, building, and district, he serves on a statewide committee that is working to develop a guide consisting of instructional practices aimed at promoting educational equity in mathematics throughout Wisconsin.


Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Saeman has been a math specialist and interventionist for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District for 12 years. Currently, she works as an interventionist at the Sauk Trail Elementary School.

With an unwavering belief that all students can and will learn, she works to make learning relevant. Colleagues benefit from Saemen’s contributions during grade-level assessment meetings where she facilitates discussion on universal assessment data and effective mathematics instruction. She provides professional learning within the district as well as national Math Recovery conferences.

This is Saemen’s second time being honored under PAEMST.