Yakima schoolteacher named finalist for presidential award


YAKIMA, Wash. — First-grade teacher Julie Fry of Yakima’s Roosevelt Elementary is no stranger to the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). She’s been nominated for the award on numerous occasions in her longstanding tenure in the Yakima School District.

Fry is one of three teachers nominated for the award, which is one of the highest honors a teacher can receive from the executive branch of the U.S. Government. She’s competing against two other Washington state teachers this year: Allison Greenberg and Tina Nicpan Brown.

Greenberg serves as the K–5 STEM Coordinator at Woodside Elementary School in the Everett School District while Nicpan Brown teaches fifth-grade at Lincoln Elementary in the Wenatchee School District.

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The three finalists were selected by a statewide selection committee comprised of award-winning teachers and experts in the STEM field. In a press release by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the following criteria were announced as part of the final decision-making process:

“Content mastery, use of effective instructional methods, strategic use of assessments, reflective practice and life-long learning, and leadership in education inside and outside of the classroom.”

Award winners receive an official certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. They’ll also be flown out to Washington D.C., where they’re honored, celebrated and collaborate with other educational instructors from throughout the nation. However, that celebration has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal noted the added importance of great teachers like these three nominees in the current state of the world.

“We are living through a once-in-a-century global event that will inform how we engage with science for generations,” Reykdal said. “Our schools are shaping the vaccine researchers and public health experts of tomorrow, and it is thrilling to see teachers like Julie, Allison, and Tina embrace this moment.”

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