The Presidential Award is an honor to be shared with my family, friends, coworkers, students, and mentors who have modeled outstanding and respectful teaching methods throughout my life. The award celebrates the success of teaching children through developing their conceptual understanding of mathematical ideas and problem solving strategies. Children are empowered when teachers listen to them, encourage risk taking, and value mistakes not as stumbling blocks, but as building blocks for success.

Laura Steele Fort Walton Beach, FL | K-6, Mathematics, 2018

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

Laura Steele has been an educator for 23 years. She has spent her career at Wright Elementary School and has been teaching two classes of mathematics and science to kindergarten students for the past seven years. She spent the previous 16 years teaching second through fifth grade students. Laura is passionate about creating kindergarten mathematicians. She uses cognitively guided instructional practices to build students’ conceptual understanding of mathematics. Listening to how students think and solve problems helps her design and facilitate lessons to strengthen each child’s foundation of mathematics. Laura mentors teachers at her school and in her district. She is a mentor for the teachers development group, providing instructional materials on the teacher learning website. She has shared instructional practices at district, state, and national conferences and has represented her school as teacher of the year. Laura earned a B.A., magna cum laude, in elementary education from the University of West Florida and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University. She is certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade elementary education.