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Grant Co. Teacher Wins Presidential Award, Two NKY Educators are Finalists

Two Kentucky elementary school educators have won the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), including one from Grant County.

Shannon Brickler, who works at Sherman Elementary School in Grant Co., and Natasha Craft, a teacher at Pulaski Elementary School in Somerset, are among 104 educators nationwide to be recognized.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is given annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. Each year the award alternates between educators who teach kindergarten through 6th grades and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. This year, on the award's 35th anniversary, kindergarten through 6th grade teachers are being honored.

Brickler has been an educator for 24 years and taught 5th grade mathematics for 13 years at Dry Ridge Elementary School before moving to a position as curriculum specialist at Sherman Elementary School.            

She has researched and implemented how modes of communication provide students an opportunity to increase their mathematical understanding and developed a classroom blog where students demonstrated leadership skills by directing videos to support mathematical learning.

“It is an honor to be a recipient of the Presidential Award as it signifies my commitment to continuous learning,” Brickler said. “It exhibits the effort and passion I have for teaching to empower others to understand mathematics. The Presidential Award is not an end in itself, but a catalyst for my professional journey for continuous improvement and refining of my craft.”

Brickler has been a participant and coach for the Kentucky Classroom Teachers Enacting Positive Solutions program, and guided educators to use design thinking and action research to implement positive changes for students. She has been an elite coach for the Kentucky Center for Mathematics/Kentucky Department of Education Master Coaching Program working with Kentucky mathematics coaches and teachers to impact student instruction. She is currently participating as a master coach to improve her coaching.

Brickler earned a B.A. in education from Northern Kentucky University, an M.A. in education from Georgetown College, and National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. She is certified in elementary education in kindergarten through fifth grade and K-12 special education.

Established in 1983, and administered by the National Science Foundation, PAEMST is the highest award kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers can receive from the U.S. government.

Nominees complete a rigorous application process that requires them to demonstrate their excellence in content knowledge and ability to adapt to a broad range of learners and teaching environments.

A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators at the state and national levels assess the applications before recommending nominees to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving STEM education.

Each awardee will receive a citation signed by the President and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees also will travel to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony.

The next PAEMST winners will represent 7th grade through high school.

Two of the finalists are from Northern Kentucky schools:


  • Deana Cummins, Williamstown Jr./Sr. High School (Williamstown Ind.)


  • Deborah Brock, Simon Kenton High School (Kenton Co.)

The winners will be named at a later date.

-Staff report

Photo: Shannon Brickler (provided)