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Barbour science teacher earns national award

Upshur County teacher receives accolade in math

July 18, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

A Barbour County school teacher who received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching was recognized this week by the Barbour County Board of Education.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching has been an annual award for about 29 years. Angela McDaniel, science teacher of Kasson Middle School in Moatsville, is a 2011 recipient of the award in the field of science.

During a regular board meeting this week, McDaniel was recognized by Barbour County Schools for her achievement.

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"I have four children of my own, so education is really important to me. Science education is super important to me," McDaniel said.

Each year, out of about 3.5 million teachers in the United States, 100 are recognized with the honor. Half are recognized for achievements in the field of science and the other half in the field of mathematics. There is one winner in each field per state.

McDaniel has been a teacher for 18 years, and has taught fifth-through eighth-grade science at Kasson Elementary/Middle school for the past two years.

The nomination for the award comes from either a student, parent, colleague or administrator. McDaniel was nominated by three parents and two students. She believes that one of the nominations came from her own daughter, Corrine McDaniel, who was part of her class.

McDaniel said the application process for the award is rigorous, but well worth it. She said any science or math teacher could do it. When nominated, the teachers' names go to a state committee. The nominated teachers who apply must develop a lesson plan that must be filmed. Those submitted lessons are narrowed down to three from each state.

The three selected in each state go to the National Committee at the National Science Foundation, which helps The White House choose each state's winner.

Sometimes no winner is chosen, and McDaniel said some states did not have a winner this time. According to the award's website, 97 winners were selected for the award.

"These awards are the highest honors conferred by the United States government," U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in a status update on Facebook congratulating McDaniel and Niel Reger, a mathematics teacher of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, in Buckhannon, for receiving the awards.

The two West Virginia teachers were presented with the awards at a ceremony June 28 in Washington, D.C., at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

McDaniel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Alderson-Broaddus College. She is National Board Certified in early adolescent education and she is a certified science teacher in secondary education.

McDaniel has presented science sessions at both local and state levels, including science lessons modified for students with special needs. She has won the Scadden award for her involvement with special needs students in the field of science.

Recipients of the award are given $10,000 and a trip for two to Washington, D.C.

"It was really an honor to go and be told by doctors and the secretary of education that you're the best of the best, because I don't often think of myself that way," McDaniel said, adding, "I teach because I love to teach not because I expect a bunch of accolades or a bunch of money."

She said she will use part of her award money to purchase a generator.

McDaniel said she got to meet many people in Washington, D.C., including Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, among many others.

"In Washington, it was really, really neat, although we didn't get to meet President Obama," McDaniel said.

One of the films highlighted in Washington was of her submitted lesson.

"It's odd sitting there with 100 people watching you teach your class," McDaniel said.



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