The Presidential Award is a humbling honor. I have been blessed to work with colleagues who teach me, inspire me, and support me on a daily basis. I am proud to have spent my career in Des Moines, working at a school with such a diverse group of wonderful, hardworking students. This award is truly a reflection of the work of many, and represents the power of collaboration, ongoing professional development, a loving family, and a supportive school community.

Zachry Christensen Des Moines, IA | K-6, Mathematics, 2016

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

Zachry Christensen has been an educator for 17 years, teaching first, second, and fourth grades at Perkins Elementary School where he now serves as an interventionist and instructional coach. Additionally, Zachry spent two years in the Curriculum Department of Des Moines Public Schools, serving as a mathematics trainer. Zachry works to make sure mathematics is presented in a context that is meaningful and engaging to his students. His students collaborate daily to solve rich tasks and work to discover solutions and strategies based on their flexible understanding of problems and numbers. He strives to make his classroom a place where mistakes are valued, risks are rewarded, and all students feel confident in their abilities as mathematicians. Zachry has presented professional development at the local, state, and national levels. He has served as a Cognitively Guided Instruction trainer and an item writer and reviewer for multiple national assessments. He is a member of his building and district leadership teams and Iowa’s State Mathematics Leadership Team. Zachry earned a B.A. in elementary education from Simpson College and a M.A. in education from Viterbo University. In addition to being certified as a kindergarten through sixth grade classroom and reading teacher, he is certified to teach K-12 language arts and French.