By Jill Fox
Teachers rarely get recognized for their contributions to children. However, one Parkland educator feels like she’s on top of the world.
Park Trails Elementary School’s Kristin Meis was nominated for the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which is the highest recognition a math or science teacher can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.
Nominees from across the country will compete for the prestigious award.
“I was thrilled, I didn’t even know there was an award like this out there,” said Meis, who was also nominated for teacher of the year, in this, her seventh year at Park Trails. She taught in Weston for ten years before moving to Parkland in 2012.
Meis has two children who attend Westglades Middle School: RJ in sixth-grade and Macy in eighth grade. Her husband, Rob, works in insurance and real estate.
The National Science Foundation will select 108 awardees from all the nominees, and if selected, Meis will travel to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events.
“Kristin does an amazing job in our engineering lab, and we wish her well in the selection process,” said Principal Arlene Manville, who nominated her for the honor.
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science teachers. If Meis were to win, in addition to the trip to Washington, D.C., she would receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
The application consists of three components: administrative, narrative, and video, and requires her to provide evidence of the content and skills that resulted in improved student learning.
Manville said Meis is developing future engineers and scientists every day. At the start of this school year, Meis began teaching the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) course at Park Trails, as well as the extracurricular robotics club.
Meis said her favorite part of teaching is when the kids find something challenging, they persevere through it, and they get excited about the experience.
“She is an amazing teacher that fosters a love of learning for our students,” said Manville, “Sparking in each, a sense of wonder and awe and the desire to explore.”