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Bartlesville Public Schools

Posted: Aug 05, 2020 3:25 PMUpdated: Aug 05, 2020 3:38 PM

Bartlesville Teacher Receives Presidential Award

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Garrett Giles

Bartlesville high school teacher, Mrs. Cheryl Fentress, received the Presidential award for excellence in mathematics and science teaching.

Oklahoma Representative Kevin Hern released the following statement after being notified the Mrs. Fentress (pictured below) had won the honor:

“Teachers like Mrs. Fentress are inspiring the next generation to pursue greatness. Emphasizing proficiency in math and science for our students has never been more important, and having excellent teachers like Mrs. Fentress is crucial as we equip our future workforce with the skills they need to be successful in an innovative world. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines prepare our students for the jobs of the future in growing industries like cybersecurity, software development, robotics and others. Congratulations Mrs. Fentress and thank you for being a stalwart leader in our community!”

Mrs. Fentress has been a dedicated teacher for over 35 years, and is currently a ninth-grade honors Biology teacher at Bartlesville High School. She was the 2019 Bartlesville High School Teacher of the Year, and has been the sponsor of student science fair projects at the local, state, and international levels.

In September 2019, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced that Bartlesville High School science teacher Cheryl Fentress was one of three state-level finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

Cheryl Fentress has 35 years of teaching experience and teaches ninth-grade Honors Biology I at Bartlesville High School. She is a member of the Bartlesville District Science Fair Board, was the 2019 Bartlesville High School Teacher of the Year, and has been the sponsor of student science fair projects at the local, state, and international levels. Ms. Fentress maintains memberships in the National Science Teachers Association and the National Association of Biology Teachers. She has previously been the President of the Bartlesville Education Association and a delegate for both the Oklahoma Education Association and the National Education Association.

“The teacher's task is to initiate the learning process and then get out of the way,” Fentress said, describing her teaching philosophy. “My job is to provide meaningful science experiences for students, then work together with them to build an understanding of science concepts.”

The other state finalists were Brigit Minden, Central High Public Schools (Marlow) and Casey Lambert, Moore Public Schools. They were chosen by a selection committee of teachers, district-level personnel, representatives from higher education and past awardees. Each finalist demonstrated a mastery of math or science instruction and the effective use of student assessments to improve student learning. Up to two Oklahoma finalists could have been named national recipients of the award.

“As demand increases for professionals proficient in higher math and science, exceptional teachers like Brigit, Cheryl, and Casey are essential to preparing our students for college and successful careers,” Hofmeister said. “Their model for excellence shines a spotlight on education in Oklahoma and helps inspire others to enter the teaching profession. I congratulate them on receiving this well-deserved national recognition.”

As the winner, Mrs. Fentress will represent all 50 states and U.S. territories. She will receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, and a certificate signed by the President of the United States.

Over the years, three Bartlesville teachers received PAEMST awards: Bartlesville Mid-High chemistry teacher Colleen Bennett in 2005, Hoover Elementary math teacher Jacquelyn Coolley in 2000, and Bartlesville Mid-High math teacher Margaret Butler in 1986.

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