Department of Defense Education Activity

Two DoDEA Educators Selected for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching

SEMBACH, GERMANY — August 6, 2020 — The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced the most recent recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This year's educators represent 7-12th grade educators from across the Nation.

Among the selectees are two DoDEA Educators:

Alysia Durham, Fort Campbell, Mathematics I.S.S.

2020 PAEMST Award RecipientAlysia Durham, a 13 year educator, began her career in education as a mathematics teacher at P.A.S.S. Academy. From there, she taught one year at New Brockton High School before moving to Fort Campbell High School (FCHS) where she recently completed her 12th year. Currently, Alysia serves as a 6–12 mathematics Instructional Systems Specialist (I.S.S) for the DoDEA Americas Southeast Kentucky Community. Alysia focuses on continuously improving her instruction to provide students with real-world experiences incorporating hands-on and technology-enhanced lessons. She believes in building students’ mathematical confidence by instilling a growth mindset within all students.

“The Presidential Award exemplifies our continuous effort to strive for excellence in education for every student, every day, everywhere. I am truly honored and filled with gratitude to be recognized among my colleagues who share a passion for mathematics and science education. This honor represents the collaboration of students, teachers, and administration on our journey to provide authentic learning experiences, promote lifelong learning, and instill a love of mathematics within all students!”

Anna Sansone, Vicenza Middle School, Science

PAEMST Award Recipient 2020Anna Sansone has been a science teacher for 14 years and is currently in her fourth year teaching seventh and eighth grade science at Vicenza Middle School for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Certified in mathematics, science, social studies, and as an educational technologist, Anna is a National Geographic certified educator, an alumna of Space Camp for Educators, and is the 2019 State Teacher of the Year for DoDEA. She has also participated in NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) social space science communication events.

“PAEMST is a celebration and acknowledgement of the work done by our entire school community. A main feature of my classroom work is ongoing collaboration with the other schools in our complex and organization and with STEM professionals in our military community. I believe in teaching science by bringing the classroom into the community and the community into the classroom. This award is the result of the work of our entire community in giving our students a variety of powerful STEM experiences.”

Awardees represent schools in all 50 U.S. states, Department of Defense Education Activity schools and schools in the U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Award recipients will each receive a presidential citation at an awards ceremony and participate in discussions on STEM and STEM education priorities led by OSTP and NSF. Recipients will also receive $10,000 from NSF, which manages the PAEMST and PAESMEM programs on behalf of the White House.

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers can receive from the U.S. government. The award alternates years between kindergarten through sixth grade and seventh-12th grade teachers. This year, on the award's 35th anniversary, kindergarten through sixth grade teachers will be honored.

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. A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators at the state and national levels assess the applications before recommending nominees to OSTP. Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving STEM education. For more information on the program, visit  

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-age children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Agencies throughout the United States that serve children of military families.