Louisiana Math Teacher Honored with Presidential Award

Donna Patten of Monroe, Louisiana was recently honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Patten is employed as the middle/high school math curriculum coordinator and Mathematics Design Collaborative local trainer within the Ouachita Parish School System. She was one of 213 teachers who attended the awards ceremony in Washington this past September.

Before accepting her role within the Ouachita Parish School System, Patten had been a math teacher for 29 years including the past 13 years at West Monroe High School where she taught Algebra. “I believe we need to help children/teens understand that math is a language that allows them to communicate in science, technology and engineering- the career pathways of the next generation,” she said.

Patten humbly accepted the award crediting her parents for instilling a love of education at a young age. She also thanked her elementary and high school teachers for their dedication to her learning. Patten went on to thank the person who gave her, her first job as a teacher at a Christian school and lastly and what she deemed most importantly, she thanked her students.

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Maribeth Holzer, the former middle/high school math curriculum coordinator nominated Patten for the award in January, 2015. The application process was intensive and included describing an instructional strategy and submitting a video which illustrated the use of the strategy.

Patten and her husband attended the festivities in Washington which included a trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo, a STEM symposium and the award dinner. In addition to the trip, all award winners receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used in any way they see fit. Winners come from the 50 United States, U.S. Territories, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and DOD schools.

A lunch confirming the award at Governor’s Mansion has been postponed due to recent flooding in Baton Rouge.