The Presidential Award is the greatest accolade I could ever imagine receiving. I am humbled to become a part of a group of teachers who inspire the love of mathematics in their students. I truly believe that students need to be given the opportunity to reflect and engage in their own learning. This process encouraged me to self-reflect on my own teaching practices and, in turn, helped me grow as an educator. This is also a testament to all my wonderful colleagues who inspire me every day.
Crystal McMachen has been an educator for the Rapid City Area School District since 2001. She has taught mathematics at three of their schools: Dakota, East, and Southwest Middle Schools. During the 2013–2014 school year, Crystal taught sixth grade mathematics at East Middle School. She is currently at Southwest Middle School where she teaches eighth grade mathematics.
Crystal believes that in order for students to learn mathematics, they must engage in their own learning. Crystal strives to create a culture in her classroom where students learn from each other, mistakes start new learning, and perseverance is rewarded.
Crystal served on the Middle School Mathematics Leadership Team, where she co-led district professional development to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum. She also coaches MATHCOUNTS, is the Middle School Liaison for the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and is a coach for the 6–12 Virtual Math Coaching Program for South Dakota.
Crystal has a B.S., with honors, in elementary education from the University of South Dakota and a M.S. in curriculum and instruction from Black Hills State University. She is certified in elementary education, middle level grades, high school mathematics, and as a curriculum director.