The Presidential Award is an amazing honor that validates the importance of high-quality science education for young learners. Because of the support of many, all students in my classroom are engaged in hands-on science projects that better prepare them for their futures. I look forward to sharing my passion for science for many years to come, and this award will allow me to network with peers to provide even more research-based, developmentally appropriate and fun activities for my students.

Nancy Smith Overland Park, KS | K-6, Science, 2016

Nancy Smith has been involved in education for 30 years. Her experiences range from providing home daycare, being an instructional coach, and teaching at the university level. She has been a first grade teacher at Bentwood Elementary School for seven years and teaches all subjects. Nancy has shared her passion for science education with colleagues through presentations at various levels. She utilizes project-based learning and exposes her students to hands-on and engaging science activities daily. Learning through purposeful play and helping students make sense of their physical world is important to her. As students present engineering projects, share experiments, and talk about science, they are better prepared for their future. Through grant funding, Nancy has made science come alive in her classroom. She has received funding for family science nights, science take-home bags, and other initiatives. She was awarded the Sally Ride-Deloitte Teaching Innovation in STEM Award and the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers Teacher of the Year. Nancy is National Board Certified and received her B.A. in elementary education and special education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She then pursued her M.Ed. in elementary curriculum from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is certified to teach kindergarten through ninth grade education and special education.