The Presidential Award is the highest honor for a mathematics and science teacher, so it is incredibly humbling to be included. Spending hundreds of hours in the summers at professional development workshops has given me the skills to help my students construct meaning and guide their learning. The Presidential Award affirms that the extra work has provided a quality educational experience for my students. Teaching is the greatest reward, but it is wonderful to have the hard work recognized.

Gena Barnhill Oklahoma City, OK | K-6, Mathematics, 2018

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

Gena Barnhill has taught elementary students for 13 years. For the past year, she has taught fifth grade mathematics and science at Lakeview Elementary School. Previously, she taught for 12 years at Rollingwood Elementary School. Gena's love of teaching mathematics and science helped her develop a STEM project focus for her students over the last several years. She helped initiate her school's family STEM night and afterschool mathematics clubs. She continues to help students with free afterschool tutoring, during which students work on projects to develop their mathematics skills. Gena has developed her teaching skills in these areas by selection as a part of the OK math leadership class, Central Oklahoma STEM Alliance, Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership grant winner, Mickelson Exxon Mobile STEM Teachers Academy, and as a Boeing Scholar. She has presented workshops on mathematics and STEM teaching practices at local, district, and state levels. Her favorite summer break activity is attending professional development workshops to improve her classroom techniques and learn current educational trends. Gena earned her B.B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and her Professional Teaching Certificate from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is currently working on her National Board Certification and is certified in early childhood and elementary curriculum.