A USD 288-Central Heights instructor is one of four Kansas educators being recognized for their outstanding teaching skills through the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program.


The White House Office of Science Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation announced Tuesday that Sarah Rand, a Central Heights Elementary School teacher, is among 215 individuals being presented with the honor. Rand was named a national finalist for 2018.


The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which was established in 1983 by Congress, is presented annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country.


Nominees complete a rigorous application process that requires them to demonstrate their excellence in content knowledge and ability to adapt to a broad range of learners and teaching environments. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.


Each year, the award alternates between educators who teach kindergarten-sixth grade, and those teaching seventh-12th grades.


Rand has taught at Central Heights Elementary School for the past five years. She spent her first three years in education teaching second grade at Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, where she was trained in Cognitively Guided Instruction.


Rand started her career at Central Heights as a Title I math teacher, visiting kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms daily to teach CGI. For the past four years, she has served as a third-grade teacher. Rand has served on the math curriculum selection committee and co-wrote her district’s science curriculum map. She also is a member of the district improvement team.


Rand received a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Ottawa University and a master of arts in teaching from the University of Southern California. She is a certified elementary school teacher.


“This award is validation for my belief in children; they will succeed in mathematics if given the right problems to solve in their own way in an environment where it is safe to take risks,” Rand said. “It is a tribute to all my students who have done just that and taught me so much. It is a testament to the phenomenal teachers I’ve observed, and the mentors I’ve been lucky to have. The Presidential Award is an incredible, humbling honor and recognition for teaching in a way I feel so passionate (about).”


Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from NSF to be used at their discretion. Finalists also are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.


Since 1983, more than 5,000 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.


For more information about PAEMST, visit www.paemst.org. For a list of all awardees, visit https://www.paemst.org/recognition