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Six Michigan Teachers Selected as State Finalists for Presidential Teaching Award

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education is proud to announce the educators selected as state finalists for the national 2021 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).


Mathematics Finalists

  • Amy Hurley, Walled Lake Central High School, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
  • Joseph Phillips, Kent Career Tech Center, Kent Intermediate School District
  • Shannon Houtrouw, Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center

Science Finalists

  • Emily Pohlonski, Novi High School, Novi Community School District
  • Heather Peterson, Holt High School, Holt Public Schools
  • Scott Milam, Plymouth High School, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools

The six finalists will have their applications reviewed and scored at the national level alongside the finalists from other states. The 2021 PAEMST application cycle was open to mathematics and science educators working primarily with students in grades 7-12.


“Michigan is fortunate to have such dedicated and talented teachers leading student learning,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “We wish Amy, Joseph, Shannon, Emily, Heather, and Scott the best of luck at the national level.”


The PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Each year, a national committee of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district level personnel, and classroom teachers recommends up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. 


Up to two teachers—mathematics or science—from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Territories as a group (comprising American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) receive the award.


Teachers who are selected as PAEMST awardees receive a trip to Washington, D.C., where they attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. They also receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, a presidential certificate, and join an elite cohort of award-winning teachers who can influence state/jurisdiction science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) teaching.


Nominations for the 2022 PAEMST program will open in the Fall of 2021 at The 2022 program year is open to educators who primarily teach STEM subjects to students in grades K-6. For more information, please visit the website or contact Michigan program coordinator Josh Roesner at  


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