Last Updated on February 12, 2022 – 11:39 AM CST

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WASHINGTON DC – On Tuesday the White House announced the most recent recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Fourth-grade Cactus Elementary science teacher Lori Garrett was among 117 teachers in the entire nation to receive this prestigious award.

In a statement released by the White House, President Biden said “I am deeply appreciative of the inspiration that America’s teachers and mentors provide every day to support the next generation of STEM professionals. The dedication these individuals and organizations have demonstrated to prepare students for careers in STEM fields, during what has been a difficult time for teachers, students, and families, plays a huge role in American innovation and competitiveness.  The work that teachers and mentors do ensures that our Nation’s children are able to unlock — for themselves and all of us – a world of possibilities.”

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and/or computer science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. This year’s teachers represented K-6th grade Mathematics and science educators from across the United States.

Lori Garrett, 4th grade Cactus Elementary science teacher and recipient of the 2022 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. – Courtesy Photo

Ms. Garrett said “Attaining the Presidential Award verifies that I am doing the right things for my students in their science education. It proves that all of the sacrifices have been worth the time, effort, heart, and money poured into my students and their school environment. It’s ALL been worth it. The entire procedure has made me see my students and their learning through a different lens. It has made me work harder and more specifically than ever before to make their education fun and functional.”

Lori has taught for 10 years at Cactus Elementary School. She taught one year in kindergarten and two in fourth-grade mathematics and science. For seven years, she has been developing and teaching a pilot program that provides pre-kindergarten to fourth-grade science pull-out, as well as a kindergarten to fourth-grade enrichment pull-out program that is focused on agricultural and project-based learning.

She has expanded the science program to include literacy connections to the students’ homeroom classes, consisting of academic vocabulary and reading passages or books that are aligned with the science lessons. She has also expanded the school’s Maker Room STREAMS curriculum that includes not only STEM goals, but also reading, art, and social studies.

Lori stays in touch with her students during the summer by working with other teachers to deliver SnakPaks. This gives the chance to go to students’ homes and make sure everyone is doing well and has what they need over the summer.

She has worked with a state-selected group to reevaluate and rewrite the state science curriculum. This has been one of the best opportunities she has had to influence public school teaching.

Lori has a B.S. in marine biology and a Third Mate License in the Merchant Marines, both from Texas A&M University at Galveston. She is certified to teach EC-6 General Education.

Awardees join an active network of outstanding educators from throughout the nation. Since 1983, more than 5,200 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Awardees reflect the expertise and dedication of the Nation’s teaching corps, and they demonstrate the positive impact of excellent teachers on student achievement.

Historically, awardees receive a certificate signed by the President and a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. In 2022, awardees will be recognized virtually. They also receive a $10,000 award from NSF.