About the Awards

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. The Awards were established by Congress in 1983. The President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.

Awards are given to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).

The award recognizes those teachers have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. Since the program's inception, more than 5,000 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

Awardees reflect the expertise and dedication of the Nation's teaching corps, and they demonstrate the positive impact of excellent teachers on student achievement. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
  • A paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.

Applicants must:

  • teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science as part of their contracted teaching responsibilities at the K-6 grade level in a public (including charter) or private school;
  • hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution;
  • be full-time employees of the school or school district as determined by state and district policies, with responsibilities for teaching students no less than 50% of the school's allotted instructional time;
  • have at least five years of full-time employment as a K-12 teacher prior to the 2021-2022 academic school year during which science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science has been a part of the applicant's teaching duties each of the five years;
  • teach in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands);
  • be U.S. citizens or permanent residents; and
  • not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.

The Awards Process: Overview

Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional individuals who teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science in grades K-6 for this award year. To submit a nomination, the following information is required:

  • Teacher's name
  • Email address
  • School contact information

Nominations may be submitted for more than one teacher. Teachers may also initiate the application process themselves at www.paemst.org.

Nominate a teacher Apply

Once a teacher is nominated or initiates the application process, the teacher will receive an email invitation to continue the application process. The invitation will include login information for accessing the online application system.

Contact info@paemst.org if you have any questions regarding the PAEMST nomination process.


The PAEMST application consists of three sections: Administrative, Narrative, and Video. All application components will be completed in the PAEMST application portal. The application is designed to allow the applicant to provide evidence of deep content knowledge, exemplary pedagogical skills, student assessment expertise, reflective teaching, and leadership that results in improved student learning. After eligibility is confirmed and technical specifications are met, each application will be evaluated using the following five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching:

  • Dimension One: Mastery of content appropriate for the grade level taught.
  • Dimension Two: Use of effective instructional methods and strategies that are appropriate for the students in the classroom and that support student learning.
  • Dimension Three: Effective use of student assessments to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning.
  • Dimension Four: Reflective practice and life-long learning to improve teaching and student learning.
  • Dimension Five: Leadership in education inside and outside of the classroom.

The PAEMST program encourages applications that provide evidence of transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary STEM teaching. Research and discovery addressing grand challenges, such as climate change or pandemics, occur at the convergence of STEM disciplines, not within disciplinary silos (OSTP Federal Coordination in STEM Education Subcommittee, 2021). Transdisciplinary STEM teaching engages students in complex real-world problems at the convergence of STEM disciplines through activities that require initiative and creativity, such as: interdisciplinary project-based learning, problem-based learning, and invention challenges, modeling, integrating mathematics and computational thinking into science, analyzing and interpreting data, and designing solutions.

For complete details, please review the 2021-2022 Application Packet.

Login to the application system

At the state and jurisdiction level, coordinators convene selection committees, which include prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district-level personnel, and classroom teachers. These committees select up to six finalists (three from each award category) for recognition at the state and jurisdiction level. States and jurisdictions are strongly encouraged to forward finalists in each of the STEM areas.

Within the science category, states and jurisdictions are encouraged to include science and engineering finalists and in the mathematics category, they are encouraged to include mathematics and computer science/technology finalists. State and jurisdiction selection committees review applications using the criteria and scoring information presented in this application packet. The states and jurisdictions select up to six state finalists by March 11, 2022.


State and jurisdiction finalists will have the opportunity to respond to state and jurisdiction level review feedback through an optional addendum to their original application. State and jurisdiction finalists can work with a mentor on this addendum, which is limited to five pages: three pages to respond on the five dimensions and two pages of additional supplemental materials. The optional addendum must be uploaded to the PAEMST portal between March 12 and March 20, 2022.

At the national level, NSF convenes a national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district-level personnel, and classroom teachers. The national committee reviews state and jurisdiction finalists’ applications using the criteria and scoring information presented in this application packet. NSF then recommends up to two finalists (ideally one from each award category) per state and jurisdiction to the White House OSTP. All finalists are subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check and good standing confirmation from their principal.


Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a $10,000 award from NSF, and an all-expenses paid trip for an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. In addition, awardees join a national cohort of award-winning teachers, providing opportunities to impact teaching on a national scale. The recognition events may include professional development opportunities and discussions with policy makers on how to improve science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science education.

If COVID-19 travel restrictions are a concern a Virtual Announcement may be held. The purpose of the Virtual Announcement is for a timely celebration of awardees and is not intended to replace the live award ceremony.

Learn more about the event, and current awardees, on the PAEMST Recognition Program Web site.