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For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director
    Richard Vespucci
    Beth Auerswald


For Release: August 5, 2009

Two New Jersey Educators Receive
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Two New Jersey elementary school teachers have been selected as national winners of the 2008 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The educators are Dr. Kimberly Mueller, a mathematics teacher at Florence L. Walther School in Lumberton (Burlington County), and Susan Poage, a science teacher at Hamilton Terrace Elementary School in Berkeley Heights (Union County).

“I want to congratulate these fine educators on receiving this prestigious national honor,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine.  “Their passion for teaching and commitment to providing a quality learning experience for our children is to be commended.”

“These teachers bring their distinctive talents and love of their profession to the classroom every day, enriching the academic experience of their students,” said Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy.  “Their accomplishments define them as model educators for their peers and students in New Jersey and throughout the nation.”
Dr. Mueller has taught at Walther School for the past thirteen years and currently teaches kindergarten.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Beaver College and received the first doctorate in Educational Leadership awarded by Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.  Her innovative methods of teaching mathematics to young children have been recognized by the New Jersey Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and have been cited by DOE as a “Best Practice.”

Susan Poage has taught kindergarten in Berkeley Heights since 2001.  She received a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education with Distinction from Kean University in 2007.   In her application, she wrote that she is “committed to providing meaningful, hands-on experiences for the students” and wrote and secured two grants to build an outdoor classroom.

New Jersey’s third 2008 state finalist is Cecily Gottling, a Suffern, New York resident and full time math improvement teacher at the George Washington Elementary School in Mahwah (Bergen County).
Teachers are selected for the Presidential Awards program based on their teaching performance, background and experience and participation in activities both in and out of school that relate to their roles as teachers.  Applicants must demonstrate how their teaching enables students to better learn concepts in mathematics and science.
The PAEMST program, established in 1983 by the White House and administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is the US government’s most prestigious public award for teachers of mathematics and science.  In alternate years, the program honors teachers in grades K-6 and 7-12.  Candidates must have taught science or mathematics for at least five years.

For more information about awards in education, visit the DOE Web-site:

For more information on the content of this news release, call the DOE Office of Public Information at 609-292-1126.