Department of Defense Education Activity

DoDEA Pacific Educator Receives Presidential Teaching Award

For Immediate Release — October 22, 2019 | PAC-East

Michael A. Pope, Zama Middle High School

Michael A. Pope, a Zama Middle High School 8th grade teacher, was recognized with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching October 17, 2019 at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

OKINAWA, JAPAN — October 22, 2019 — President Donald J. Trump announced that a teacher from the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Japan District was among the recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Michael A. Pope, an 8th grade science teacher at Zama American Middle High School in Japan, was chosen by selection committees facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation. Selected as a 2017 recipient, the awards for 2017 and 2018 were presented during a ceremony held 17 October in Washington, DC.

“I felt overwhelmed with emotions, humbled, excited and a sense of validation for all the time and hard work I have put into my teaching craft over the year,” Pope said about receiving the award.  “It was mind blowing to be selected as a state-finalist, and it is gratifying and emotional to be selected as a winner.”

Pope, who has been an educator for more than 20 years and has spent the last 14 with DoDEA Pacific. Previously, he taught for five years at Stephenson Middle School in Georgia and three years at Shirley Lanham Elementary School in Atsugi, Japan.  A Queens, N.Y. native, he earned a B.S.E. in middle school education from Georgia State University and a M.Ed. from Brenau University.  He is certified in middle school social studies, science, mathematics, and gifted education and is certified in Japanese studies.

Three other DoDEA teachers were identified for recognition as well. Also receiving awards this year were Amy Dougherty, Aukamm Elementary School, Germany; Patrick McDonald, formerly of DODEA Yokota Middle School,and Deborah Young, Garmisch Elementary Middle School.


About the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The PAEMST, established in 1983, is the highest award given by the U.S. Government to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers of mathematics and science, including computer science.

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 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

Awardees come from schools in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, and schools in the United States territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.  Learn more about PAEMST at


About DoDEA

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged 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 Activities throughout the United States that serve children of military families.