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College of Education and Professional Studies

Two CWU alumni among six finalists for national math/science teaching awards

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching logoTwo Central Washington University alumni are among six Washington elementary teachers now up for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The award is the highest honor for a K-12 mathematics or science teacher, as it acknowledges classroom instructors for their abilities to foster student growth in both of those subject areas.

In the science category, the state finalists include Yakima’s Julie Fry and Veronique Paquette from East Wenatchee.

Fry received her Bachelor of Education from CWU in 1989, master’s degree in 1997, and her National Board Certification in 2012. Fry has served at Roosevelt Elementary for 21 of the 25 years she has been a first-grade teacher in the Yakima district.

“My initial reaction to the nomination was complete disbelief!” Fry acknowledged. “My training at CWU was hugely foundational for my career. I still remember pivotal moments during my undergraduate classes when my own love of learning was fostered by some pretty influential professors.”

Paquette, a teacher for 29 years, is now in her 20th year as a second grade instructor, all at Kenroy Elementary. She earned her Bachelor of Education from Central in 1987, followed by a Master’s in Reading in 1992, and her National Board Certification in 2010. She was also honored as the 2003 Washington State Teacher of the Year.

“I’m not sure if I can compare the two awards,” Paquette explained. “I was intrigued by the questions that both asked. Each had me analyze my teaching and write to my philosophies and methodologies. I came away from each applications feeling as though the self-reflection on my teaching was very valuable. I felt I became a better teacher because of the opportunity to take the time to self-reflect on my daily teaching.” 

Paul Ballard, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, said, “We’re proud of the efforts and accomplishments of both Julie and Veronique. As Central continues to see its alumni nominated for—and receive—statewide, regional, and national recognition, it verifies that we have the right approach to classroom-teacher preparation. And we make sure to constantly revise and refine our focus so that we will continue to produce instructors who can meet the needs of today’s students, and tomorrow’s as well.” 

Presented since 1983, the national PAEMST award recipients will be announced next spring. The National Science Foundation administers the awards program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,

October 6, 2016

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