The Presidential Award is a celebration of the value placed on education in America. A clear counterpoint to media criticism of our instructional system, the Presidential Award recognizes the powerful teaching and learning that cultivate our nation’s greatest assets: creativity, persistence, and innovation. To be honored by this recognition validates the hard work done in my classroom, my school, and my community as we strive to empower students and to nurture a lifelong love of learning.

Michal Turner APO, AE | 7-12, Mathematics, 2015

Michal Turner is in her 11th year of teaching mathematics and her seventh year of teaching for the Department of Defense Education Activity. She teaches Algebra I to 8th grade students and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a college preparatory program, to students in grades seven and eight at Vicenza Middle School, where she has taught for four years. Michal believes that exposure to challenging, “messy” mathematics is a “right” for all learners, not a privilege of the elite. However, this subject can be deeply fraught with anxiety and self-doubt for some students. Michal, therefore, works tirelessly to foster the growth mindset and perseverance needed to confidently approach complex mathematical scenarios. Her classroom is characterized by student-centered instruction, rich mathematical discourse, effective parent-student-teacher communication, and meaningful goal setting. Michal facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration among teachers as the Professional Learning Community Coordinator at her school. As AVID Coordinator and Schoolwide Data Analyst, she advocates for access to rigor for all students and supports the use of data to inform and invigorate instruction. Michal earned a B.A. in mathematics from the University of North Florida and a M.A.T. in Mathematics from Jacksonville University. She is certified to teach grades 6–12 mathematics, AVID, and Advanced Placement statistics.