Return to Headlines

Two district educators named finalists for national Presidential award

Sarah Donovan and Krista Wyvell-Fink and he PAEMST logo(04/30/2024) Two Anoka-Hennepin educators have been named state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Sarah Donovan, a third grade teacher at Hamilton Elementary has been named a finalist in math and Krista Wyvell-Fink, a fourth grade teacher at Rum River Elementary is a finalist in science. 

The PAEMST are the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching. The awards were established by Congress in 1983 and the President recognizes around 100 exemplary teachers each year. 

The award recognizes teachers who have deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to succeed in those areas.

“Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work alongside dedicated and talented math educators who have received this prestigious award,” Donovan said. “They have inspired, influenced, and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and implement new teaching strategies making math accessible and relevant for all students. It truly is an honor to be recognized as a finalist for this award.”

Donovan loves seeing math through the eyes of her students and the curiosity and excitement they bring each day. 

“This year, I took my students on a journey of learning to work collaboratively in vertical spaces,” Donovan said. “They embraced the challenge of working together to solve problems and are on their way to becoming critical thinkers of the future.”

“It was exciting to be nominated, so being a finalist feels amazing,” Fink said. “I love science. As an elementary teacher, science tends to fade behind math and reading, and knowing there is an award out there for elementary science, says science holds value for our youngest students.”

Fink has a sign in her classroom that reads “We do magic here, we call it science.”

“I love working with kids’ natural curiosity and empowering them through science,” Fink said. “My favorite science lessons open with phenomena that grasp onto the natural curiosity and wonder in a fourth-grade student’s mind and get them asking questions.”