As a math teacher, I strive to seek out and follow the wisdom of more experienced teachers, collaborate with administrators and colleagues regardless of experience, and recognize that my primary job is to serve my students with well planned lessons and an open mind. The Presidential Award serves as both validation and affirmation that my work has not been in vain.

Lauren Zarandona Columbus, MS | 7-12, Mathematics, 2015

Lauren Zarandona has taught mathematics in Mississippi for 13 years. For her first five years, she taught in the Hollandale School District. During the last eight years, she has taught everything from Algebra II to Advanced Placement Statistics to 11th–12th grade students at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, a public residential high school for academically gifted and talented students. Sharing her passion for problem solving with students is important to Lauren. She works with her mathematics colleagues to host high school math contests locally and statewide, and has served on the Executive Board of the state Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society for three years. For the past two years, Lauren and her students have prepared math outreach centers for elementary and middle students, reaching more than 700 students. Lauren works with teachers in two ways: she has presented at state teaching conferences and has facilitated grant funded and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics-sponsored teacher workshops. As a presenter and facilitator, she has shared student focused and problem driven lessons. Lauren earned a B.S. in physics from Rhodes College in 2003 and a M.A. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi in 2005 as part of the Mississippi Teacher Corps, a state funded, alternate route program. She earned her National Board Certification in 2008.