It is a tremendous honor to be chosen as a recipient of the Presidential Award and be afforded the opportunity to represent the many exemplary mathematics teachers across our nation. Great teachers understand the importance of leading from the classroom and this award serves as a platform from which I can share my voice and vision. More than just a validation of my practice, this award serves as a call to action to continue supporting other teachers to provide quality mathematics instruction.
Tabetha Finchum spent 12 years teaching at Centennial Elementary School, where she taught all subjects for fourth grade. She also worked for her district, developing and facilitating mathematics professional development. She is currently a District Mathematics Specialist for Flowing Wells School District.
Tabetha has extensively studied student-centered mathematics, equity, and leadership as a Noyce Fellow in the Arizona Master Teachers of Mathematics Program. She has a passion for problem-based learning that promotes students’ conceptual understanding of why mathematics works. Tabetha works as a teacher leader in her district to facilitate teacher growth in creating and delivering problem-based mathematics lessons to students.
Tabetha was honored as a 2014 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year finalist and named an “Arizona Ambassador for Excellence.” In the same year, she also was honored to be named a Rodel Teacher. The Rodel Teacher Initiative seeks to honor extraordinary teachers in Arizona schools, and asks them to mentor high-potential student teachers who are preparing to enter the profession.
Tabetha has a B.A. in elementary education from the University of Arizona and a M.S. in post-secondary education with an emphasis in instructional technology from Troy University. She is certified in kindergarten through eighth grade elementary education.