The Presidential Award is an incredible honor that celebrates the hard work that I do with my students and the endless support I have received from my colleagues. Through their support, I have been challenged to develop into an educator who maintains high expectations for students while creating a supportive learning environment. I am humbled to be chosen alongside incredible educators who shape the field, and I hope to continue to develop as a life-long learner and leader in education.

Kristen Smith New York, NY | K-6, Mathematics, 2016

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Kristen Smith taught mathematics at Democracy Prep Charter Middle School for seven years. Her classroom experiences range from sixth grade mathematics to eighth grade Algebra. Currently, she is teaching ninth grade Algebra at Summit Atlas. Kristen encourages her students to think deeply about mathematics by providing them with rich tasks that encourage student dialogue. She has pioneered a curriculum based on projects that engage students to think about mathematics in the world around us. Through her role as Mathematics Department Chair, she has supported her colleagues in transitioning to authentic problem-based learning rather than simply teaching procedural fluency. Kristen has presented in a variety of settings regarding mathematical pedagogy and student discourse in the classroom. She has worked with beginning teachers as a coach and mentor. As part of a Math for America Master Teacher fellowship, Kristen presented at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley about using video to understand student thinking. She has attended the Park City Mathematics Institute and was selected as a Desmos Fellow in 2017. Kristen earned a B.A., summa cum laude, in mathematics from the University of Virginia. She holds a M.Ed. in secondary mathematics education from New York University. She is currently certified to teach grades 5–12 mathematics.

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