Receiving the Presidential Award is an incredibly humbling and exciting honor. It also affirms the power of a learning community - the many students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members that have challenged me and encouraged my growth as a science educator. In return, I offer my students the model of life-long learning, hard work, and perseverance for the simple reason that learning changes everything. I am excited to see what new opportunities are ahead!

Denise Koontz Ft. Worth, TX | K-6, Science, 2016

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

Denise Koontz has been a science educator for 17 years, teaching fifth grade science at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School for the past 10 years. She previously taught science at Chisholm Trail Intermediate, and also at other schools in the Fort Worth area. Through relevant, hands-on learning, Denise implements STEM education and project-based learning in her teaching practices to bring meaningful experiences to all of her students. She was both campus and district Elementary Teacher of the Year, and received a grant to fund a science summer camp that she implemented at Trinity Meadows for incoming fifth graders. Denise serves as Science Department Head, actively mentors science teachers, and was a Fulbright Scholar Teacher Mentor. She is part of her district’s elementary science vertical alignment team, and has served as an exemplar science lesson writer. She has also presented professional development at both the local and regional level, including workshops on integrating high-interest science vocabulary activities into the daily classroom experience. Denise earned a B.S. in elementary education from Eastern New Mexico University, and a M.Ed. from Tarleton State University in curriculum and instruction. She is certified in first through eighth grade elementary education, and in elementary music.