Receiving the Presidential Award has been a truly humbling and reflecting experience. This achievement can only be due to the educators before me that have demonstrated a passion for teaching and the area of science. The value of the award is directed toward my former students, my family, and past and present coworkers. The recognition for what I do in the classroom is only a result of those people challenging me to always be the best version of myself I can be.

Denise Clemens Mellette, SD | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

Denise Clemens has been an educator for 22 of her 25 years at Northwestern Area School District. Denise’s other three years were teaching middle school and high school at Roncalli Parochial School. Denise currently teaches 9–12 grade biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy/physiology, and applied mathematics. The passion Denise has for teaching and for science is shown in the engagement of the students in her classroom. Students can be found actively engaged in phenomena exploration, classroom discussion of data, or generating field experiences that bring scientific knowledge alive. Denise has led excursions to collect data from river systems, supervised construction of student engineered rovers, and guided inquiry of genetic information. Denise is an active member of state and national teacher associations and continues to participate in professional development opportunities that help to keep her up to date with the latest standards and practices. This knowledge helps Denise to mentor new teachers, create curriculum for new courses for students, and lead district curriculum development. Denise earned a B.S. in biology, environmental science, and chemistry from Northern State University and a B.S., Ed., also from Northern State University. She is certified in 7–12 science and mathematics education.