SPEARFISH - Two graduates of Black Hills State University, Darcy Vincent (’15) and Merideth Wald (’13), were recently announced as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. The Awards were established by Congress in 1983. The President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.

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

Darcy Vincent

Vincent.jpgDarcy Vincent has been an educator for 13 years. She has spent the last six years teaching fifth grade mathematics at Camelot Intermediate School in Brookings, SD. She previously taught at Arlington Elementary School for seven years.

As a customized learning facilitator, Vincent works to meet the individual needs of her learners in mathematics. She facilitates approximately 120 learners in standards across multiple grade levels. Her knowledge of content and standards helps her meet them at their level. She develops skill-based playlists which provide for hands-on activities, group and independent work, and offer voice and choice opportunities across various learning styles. Vincent facilitates learners to work at their own pace and take ownership to meet their learning outcomes. 

Vincent’s passion for mathematics is evident in her leadership among colleagues. She previously worked as a South Dakota Counts teacher leader during her time at Arlington Elementary. She spent this time in a cohort earning her master’s degree while leading her colleagues in implementing the Investigations mathematics curriculum. Vincent assisted in coordinating mathematics nights and informational meetings on implementing the Common Core State Standards. She currently serves as a Professional Learning Community mathematics leader as well as a Curriculum Committee representative. The past year, she worked with colleagues in the district to choose a new mathematics curriculum. Vincent currently serves as a member of the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Vincent earned a B.S. in elementary education from Dakota State University and received her M.S. in curriculum and instruction from Black Hills University. She is a certified in elementary education, career and technical education, and middle level education.

“It is an incredible honor to be nominated for this award! I was grateful and humbled to have a colleague in the district nominate me,” Vincent said.  “I could not let this opportunity to showcase my hard work and dedication pass by. However, this will not just be an end result for my passion for and dedication to mathematics. This award and the opportunities that come after will provide me a stepping stone to more professional development and networking to improve my teaching and leadership in mathematics.”

Merideth Wald

Image of Merideth WaldMerideth Wald has been a mathematics teacher in an elementary classroom for nine years. She has spent those nine years teaching kindergarten, first grade, and currently a kindergarten and first grade combination classroom. All nine years have been at Black Hawk Elementary School in Black Hawk, SD, which is part of the Rapid City Area School District.

Wald said she strives to create an environment that is developmentally appropriate for young mathematicians. She promotes problem solving and discourse to support student success. She believes that every student has the ability to achieve at high levels and she also understands that each student does so at their own pace. Her classroom is an environment the meets each student exactly where they are in their own learning progression.

Wald continues to find ways to support student success both in and out of the classroom. She has served in several ways at the building, district, and state levels. She is currently part of the district Math Leadership Team and the building Leadership Team. She has also been part of the South Dakota Math Standards Revision Team, the SDMath/SDSci Leadership program, and also served on teams to adopt curriculum and create staff professional development.

Wald holds a B.S. in elementary education from Black Hills State University; an M.S. in early childhood education from Capella University; and an Ed.S. in curriculum and instruction from Capella University. She is currently a South Dakota certified elementary teacher.

“The Presidential Award is such an honor in many ways,” said Wald. “This award is not a single recognition. I feel this award recognizes the incredible students, staff, and coaches that have helped shape me into the teacher that I am. I am blessed to go to work each and every day and learn alongside the most incredible students who show me what it means to persevere and celebrate successes. I am so glad I can share this award with them.”

Recipients of the award receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a $10,000 award from NSF, and an all-expenses paid trip for an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. In addition, awardees join a national cohort of award-winning teachers, providing opportunities to impact teaching on a national scale. The recognition events may include professional development opportunities and discussions with policy makers on how to improve science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science education.