Kanawha County educator receives Presidential Award for science teaching

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County science teacher says she’s honored to be nationally recognized for helping students learn about a subject she’s passionate about.

Tiffany Pace

Tiffany Pace, a third grade teacher at Weberwood Elementary School in South Charleston, was awarded the 2022 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

“I was floored. I was just in shock,” Pace told MetroNews.

It’s the highest award K-12 grade mathematics and science teachers can receive from the federal government.

“It meant so much to me to know that what I’m doing in the classroom matters to others,” Pace said.

Pace was one of 117 teachers, mentors and organizations across the country who received the award on Feb. 8 by the Biden administration.

She hopes the award can serve as an inspiration to students studying science.

“It’s going to open so many doors to help me reach out to other people and bring even more wonderful experiences to my kids that can hopefully change their lives,” she said.

Pace will receive $10,000 as part of her award. She hopes to put the money toward classroom supplies, such as Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners, to increase hands-on learning.

“I’m hoping to use some of that money in my classroom to purchase STEM materials because a lot of times that’s not what’s in our budget,” she said.

Pace has been on the edge of her seat to find out if she won the award. It’s been a two year process that was pushed back due to COVID-19.

“I finished the application and then they pushed back the submission dates due to COVID. Once I submitted, I found out last December that I was one of the three state finalists and then it took another year and a half to find out that I won,” she said.

The award, Pace said, represents those who work so hard in the science field.

“I’ve worked with so many great science educators from around the world. To me, this award just shows all the work that we put in to help create curiosity in our students,” she said.

Joni Jones, a math teacher at Suncrest Elementary School in Morgantown, was the only other West Virginia educator to be recognized for the Presidential Award.

A virtual ceremony from the White House honoring Pace, Jones and other recipients will take place Feb. 24.

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