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Northeast Times | September 27, 2022

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KISD: TMIS Teacher Denise Koontz Earns Presidential Award

KISD: TMIS Teacher Denise Koontz Earns Presidential Award

Trinity Meadows Intermediate School Science teacher Denise Koontz has earned the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Heashot of TMIS Teacher Denise Koontz Koontz is one of 104 teachers across the country – and just two in Texas – to earn the honor.

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics and science teachers can receive from the U.S. government. Nominees complete a rigorous application process that requires them to demonstrate their excellence in content knowledge and ability to adapt to a broad range of learners and teaching environments.

A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators at the state and national levels assess the applications before recommending nominees to OSTP. Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving STEM education.

Koontz and other Presidential Awardees earned a trip to Washington D.C. during which they each received a presidential citation at an awards ceremony and participated in discussions on STEM and STEM education priorities led by OSTP and NSF. Recipients will also receive $10,000 from NSF, which manages the PAEMST on behalf of the White House.

“Receiving the Presidential Award is an incredibly humbling and exciting honor,” Koontz said. “It also affirms the power of a learning community – the many students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members that have challenged me and encouraged my growth as a science educator. In return, I offer my students the model of life-long learning, hard work, and perseverance for the simple reason that learning changes everything. I am excited to see what new opportunities are ahead!”

Koontz has taught science for 17 years, the past 10 of which have been spent teaching fifth-grade students at Trinity Meadows. Through relevant, hands-on learning, Koontz implements STEM education and project-based learning in her teaching practices to bring meaningful experiences to all of her students. She was Keller ISD’s 2014 Elementary Teacher of the Year, and has previously received a grant to fund a science summer camp that she implemented at Trinity Meadows for incoming fifth graders.

She currently serves as TMIS’s Science Department Head, actively mentors science teachers, and was a Fulbright Scholar Teacher Mentor. She is part of Keller ISD”s elementary science vertical alignment team, and has served as an exemplar science lesson writer. She has also presented professional development at both the local and regional level, including workshops on integrating high-interest science vocabulary activities into the daily classroom experience.

Koontz earned a B.S. in elementary education from Eastern New Mexico University, and a M.Ed. from Tarleton State University in curriculum and instruction. She is certified in first through eighth grade elementary education, and in elementary music.