Redmond, Wash. – Elementary teacher Nancy Pfaff was named the Washington recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) for mathematics. The PAEMST is the nation's highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Read More >>
“I am thrilled by the positive focus on elementary mathematics education the Presidential Award brings to our community and school district, and I am honored by the recognition,” noted Pfaff.
“Nancy shares with her students her passion for problem-solving,” said Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent of Lake Washington School District. “She is truly dedicated to helping students learn mathematical thinking. She is very deserving of this recognition.”
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The 2012 awardees teach kindergarten through 6th grade.
Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, to be used at their discretion. They also are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events.
Nancy Pfaff has been an educator for more than 30 years, specializing for the past two years in sixth grade mathematics at Horace Mann Elementary (Redmond, WA) and Inglewood Middle School (Sammamish, WA) in the Lake Washington School District. This school year, she is teaching gifted students in an enrichment program at Blackwell Elementary School (Sammamish) and Thoreau Elementary School (Kirkland, WA). Her 26 years in the district include work in gifted and general education classrooms for third through sixth grade.
Pfaff shared her enthusiasm for mathematics by developing a school-wide Math Night at Mann Elementary. Her sixth graders led kindergarten through fifth grade students and their parents in mathematics games and activities. She built online extensions for students through personalized problem-solving and discussions. She adapted games to build confidence and fill in skill gaps for struggling students.
Themes evident in Pfaff’s work with students and teachers include developing mathematics concepts and building meaning through mathematics discussions. Beyond the classroom, she is involved in mathematics professional development work for Lake Washington School District. Pfaff is also involved in teacher education at City University in Seattle, Wash.
Nancy has a B.A. in mathematics and education and an M.Ed. from Washington State University. She is National Board Certified in early adolescent mathematics.