PAEMST » About the Awards

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 4,800 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 7-12 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 during which science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science has been a part of the applicant's teaching duties prior to the 2018-2019 academic school year;;
  • 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 7-12 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.


The application consists of three components: Administrative, Narrative, and Video. The components allow the applicant to provide evidence of deep content knowledge and exemplary pedagogical skills that result 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:

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

For complete details, please review the 2018-2019 Application Packet (Adobe PDF). If needed, download a free copy of Acrobat Reader for PDF files.

Login to the application system

All applications will be subjected to the following review process:

  • At the State 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 three finalists from each award category (mathematics or science) for recognition at the state level and forward these applications to NSF for national review. State selection committees score their applications using the review criteria and scoring information presented in this application packet.
  • 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 finalists' applications and recommends to NSF up to two finalists from each state or jurisdiction. The Director of NSF then submits the recommendations to the Director of OSTP. All finalists will be subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.

Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored at an award ceremony which takes place in Washington, D.C. Additional events may include professional development opportunities and discussions with policy-makers on how to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM which includes computer science) education.

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