The Presidential Award gives me hope. It gives me hope that education is still important. It gives me hope that even after so many years in the classroom, I can still make a difference in the lives of my students. It gives me hope that once my students leave the classroom, not only will they know the content that I have taught them, they will also have the skills necessary to become contributing, important members of society. 'Once you choose hope, everything’s possible.' – Christopher Reeve

Karen Donathan Charleston, WV | 7-12, Mathematics, 2019

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

Karen Donathan has been a teacher for 28 years and has taught mathematics, engineering, and computer science courses at George Washington High School for the past 23 years. She spent the previous four years teaching mathematics and science courses at Hayes Junior High School and one year teaching mathematics at Northwest Whitfield High School in Georgia. Currently, Karen teaches Computer Science and Mathematics (an introductory programming course), Advanced Placement Computer Science A, Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles, and Advanced Programming Concepts to 9th-12th grade students. These courses not only offer the study of programming skills, but also focus on computational thinking, leadership, and collaboration skills. Her students thrive in these hands-on, lab-based courses. Karen has been deeply involved in the College Board’s AP program for 22 years as an AP Computer Science A reader, table leader, and question leader. During this time, she served on the AP Computer Science A test development committee for seven years, with four of those years as the high school chairperson. She is also currently a second-year Code.org computer science principles facilitator, working with teachers in West Virginia and helping them become computer science teachers. Karen has also presented teaching techniques at many professional conferences, including Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) and the AP annual conference. Karen earned a B.S. in applied mathematics and a certification in computer science from the University of Akron. She also completed education courses for teaching certification at the University of North Georgia. She is a certified West Virginia teacher with certification in mathematics, grades 5–12.