By Ross Markman
Established by the White House in 1983, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching has found its way into the hands of more than 3,000 educators nationwide.
Tonight, the annual award will be presented to one of Havre's own Deanna Reynolds, a teacher of integrative math and algebra at Havre High School. She has been teaching for 13 years, the last eight in Havre.
Reynolds is one of 200 recipients, each of whom was invited to attend the award ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
"It feels nice," Reynolds said, during a phone interview from her hotel room. "The process was more important to me than the outcome. I did a lot of self-evaluation."
Four winners math teachers and science teachers on the secondary and elementary levels are selected from each state, and are treated to an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation's capital.
"It means a lot to be recognized by your peers. I think that's important," Havre High School Principal Jim Donovan said.
Reynolds will receive a presidential citation, various gifts, and a $7,500 grant for the high school from the National Science Foundation, the organization that coordinates the event. She'll return to Havre on Monday.
"It's gonna be nice, the opportunity to help the math program," she said. "The money goes to help math education at my discretion."
According to William Harms, spokesman for the National Science Foundation, the award is designed to recognize the nation's top teachers.
"What we've found over the years is we honor teachers who are more engaged in the classroom and more engaged in the learning process," Harms said.
To be eligible for the honor, teachers complete a package outlining their background. Applicants must have at least five years of teaching experience, as well as letters of support from colleagues, students, students' parents and a supervisor.
A state selection committee then reviews each application, selecting up to 12 finalists from each state.
The applications are then reviewed by a national selection committee of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators, who then make the final recommendations to the White House.
Reynolds was informed in November that she was a state finalist. She didn't discover that she had won until Friday.
"It's always nice to get this sort of honor," Donovan said. "It means a lot to this school and a lot to Deanna to be selected."