I am honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Award. This prestigious award validates the dedication, innovation, and passion required to educate children. Thank you to my family, past students, mentors, administrators, colleagues, and others who have encouraged me. It is so important to teach children about nature and get them outdoors, so they can learn to care for our natural world. My kindergartners’ enthusiasm confirms the importance of teaching science to our very youngest students.

Kelly Preheim Armour, SD | K-6, Science, 2018

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

Kelly Preheim has been an elementary teacher for over 30 years and has taught all subjects of kindergarten for the last 27 years at the Armour School. She previously taught at the Hurley School for seven years. Kelly has discovered a meaningful way to engage her students in scientific thinking as she shares her passion for birds and nature with her students. Incorporating birds into her curriculum made lessons more enjoyable and relevant. Kindergartners became bird experts and were able to describe, draw, and identify hundreds of species. More importantly they shared their passion and knowledge with their family. Kelly has incorporated transdisciplinary, problem-based learning community projects with her students. Projects include building nest boxes, publishing an annual bird field guide, and creating a community bird feeder complex. Kelly created an afterschool bird club for kindergarten through eighth grade students. Kelly has presented problem-based learning and STEM teaching to student teachers, has given presentations for children and adults, and has been a bird camp instructor. She’s written many articles for state and national publications about teaching young children about birds. Kelly earned a B.S. in elementary education from the University of South Dakota. She recently became a National Geographic Certified Educator and is certified in elementary education.