Knox administrator receives Presidential Teacher award

Melissa Evans, director of district wide programs for the Knox County Public Schools, was recently honored with the Presidential Math and Science Teachers award in Washington, D.C.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and math teachers across the country.   According to the award’s committee, the winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators.

Evans was notified of receiving the award in June, with the official presentation occurring at the White House during the week of December 13.  President Obama welcomed Evans and other educators in attendance and offered praise for the work that they do in preparing today’s students to take on the challenges facing the Nation.

“It has been a humbling experience to have my work validated by leading scientists and educators”, said Evans after winning the prestigious award.  “The PAEMST process enabled me to evaluate my effectiveness and to grow professionally.”

While in Washington, D.C., award recipients were treated to several days of educational and celebratory events.  Those events included visits with OSTP Associate Director for Science Carl Wieman – a noted STEM education researcher and Nobel laureate, Secretary of Education Ame Duncan, National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh, and Members of Congress.  

Evans is in her first year as a director for the Knox County Public Schools.  She has 17 years of experience as a classroom teacher.  Evans credits professional development and learning opportunities as some of the reasons for her success.

“Constant reflection is a necessary ingredient to improve pedagogy, which impacts learning”, said Evans.  “Through my example, I hope to inspire students to become lifelong learners and develop a love for exploration just as I have.”