Sauk Trail's Hammer named PAEMT winner

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Sauk Trail first-grade teacher Susan Hammer has been selected to receive a 2016 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced on June 25 that 140 individuals and organizations will be honored with presidential awards for their excellence in teaching or mentoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"It is truly an honor to be recognized with the Presidential Award,'' Hammer said. "This award is a testament to the exceptional colleagues and administrators who have inspired and given me opportunities to lift my practices to where they are today. It also celebrates our youngest learners recognizing that the deep thinking, collaboration, and discourse they do each day is worthy and valuable. Receiving this award deepens my dedication and passion to a profession where together we can do great things.''

Hammer received her award from Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios and National Science Foundation Director Dr. France A Cordova at a ceremony held at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

"It was quite an honor to be recognized in such a grand way,'' Hammer said.

Kindergarten through sixth grade teachers will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), and mentors will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

"On behalf of the White House I am honored to express the nation’s gratitude for the tireless dedication that these men and women bring to educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians,” Michael Kratsios said. “Each day more and more jobs require a strong foundation in STEM education, so the work that you do as teachers and mentors helps ensure that all students can have access to limitless opportunities and the brightest of futures."

Awardees represent schools in all 50 U.S. states, Department of Defense Education Activity schools and schools in the U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The other Wisconsin recipient was Jay Garvey Shah, a fifth-grade science teacher in Sun Prairie.

“Susan and Jay completed a rigorous application process that allowed them to show the depth of their knowledge and teaching expertise,'' State Superintendent Tony Evers said in a statement. "I extend my congratulations to them on this honor and encourage Susan and Jay to continue inspiring their students and colleagues as they lead from the classroom on how to improve mathematics and science education.”

Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year.

During a visit to the nation's capital, award recipients will each receive a presidential citation at an awards ceremony and participate in discussions on STEM and STEM education priorities led by OSTP and NSF. Recipients will also receive $10,000 from NSF, which manages the PAEMST and PAESMEM programs on behalf of the White House.

Hammer and Sauk Trail math-reading intervenionist Rebecca Saeman were named the state finalists in math for the awards in 2016. Hammer and Saeman were recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in Mequon at a ceremony in November 2016.

Up to two teachers from each state are selected annually to receive the PAEMST award at the national level.

Hammer has worked at Sauk Trail for 32 years and has spent 28 years teaching first grade. She has served on numerous committees, attended the reading and writing workshops in New York and most recently has been involved in math curriculum and equity. She also recently received the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics‘ Mathematics Education Trust Award and is a leader of the Wisconsin Statewide Mathematics Initiative, focusing on mathematics instruction, teacher support, and coaching. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education from North Dakota.

Kromrey science teacher Kathy Hiteman won a national honor for K-6 teachers in 2012. Since 1983, more than 4,700 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Learn more on the PAEMST website.