Department of Defense Education Activity

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

ALEXANDRIA, VA — February 10, 2022 — The Department of Defense Education Activity is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Program for the K-6th grade teachers of science and mathematics.

The two selected DoDEA Educators are:

Lachanda Garrison, Bahrain Elementary School, Mathematics

Lachanda GarrisonLachanda Garrison was a second-grade teacher for two years at Bahrain Elementary School (BES) in Manama, Bahrain, before becoming their mathematics interventionist this past year. Before BES, she taught at Rota Elementary School in Spain for 10 years. Her 15 years as an educator include 12 years as a classroom teacher and as an instructional coach in both elementary mathematics and literacy. Garrison was the 2021 State Teacher of the Year for DoDEA.

Garrison believes weaving her students’ stories and identities into lessons is the best instructional tool, ensuring all students receive an equitable education. She meets students’ needs by being trauma-informed, resilience-focused, and culturally responsive so students can learn and thrive both inside and outside of the classroom. Because of these beliefs, she fosters learning spaces where her students advocate for their learning, celebrate one another’s differences and cultures, and empathize with those around them.

"I am deeply humbled and excited to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)," said Garrison. “This award is special to me because it showcased how my students’ stories, funds of knowledge, cultures, and backgrounds are powerful tools in making mathematics equitable and accessible for them. The fact that the PAEMST honored that brings me so much joy as we move towards humanizing mathematics instruction for our students".

Garrison has an A.A. in computer studies and a B.S. in information systems management from the University of Maryland University College; an M.Ed. in instructional technology from Troy University; and an M.A. in mathematics teaching from Mount Holyoke College. She is a certified elementary school, middle school mathematics, and secondary business teacher. She is also a certified educational technologist.

Antoine Sharpe, Headquarters, Department of Defense Education Activity, Mathematics

Antoine SharpeAntoine Sharpe has been an educator for 16 years and has spent the last four years teaching mathematics at Humphreys Middle School. He previously taught at C.T. Joy Elementary/Middle School and Northeast Elementary school. Sharpe has taught third through eighth grades, multiage, Career and Technical Education, music, band, advanced academic placement, and science.

Currently, he serves as a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade mathematics instructional systems specialist for the DoDEA headquarters. Sharpe collaborates with colleagues and teacher leaders to facilitate professional development and help bring equitable teaching practices and active learning strategies into the classroom.

Sharpe believes in the power of relationships and strives to personally develop each of his “Sharpies” (his students) in areas other than academics to ensure they achieve their greatest potential.

“I feel honored and humbled to be chosen as a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) recipient,” said Sharpe. “This award is accepted on the shoulders of many others – my amazing students (Sharpies) and their families, who trusted me with the greatest equalizer, education. I would also like to thank my colleagues and former educators who collaborated and inspired me to continue to grow my craft and my family and friends who continue to love, support, and push me to greater heights. This award is because of you.”

Sharpe is a National Board-Certified Educator, Northeast Elementary School Beginning Teacher of the Year recipient, and the 2020 State Teacher of the Year for DoDEA. He earned a B.S. in middle grades mathematics and sciences from East Carolina University; an M.S. in educational leadership from Gardner-Webb University; and is currently a doctoral candidate at Valdosta State University in curriculum and instruction. Sharpe is certified in kindergarten through fifth grade, middle school mathematics and science, and gifted education.

About Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST)

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.

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

About Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)

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.