Williamsport Elementary teacher named finalist for national STEM educators award

26 March 2024- Today, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced six finalists for the 2024 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) for K-6th grade. Established in 1983, PAEMST are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.

“I am honored to recognize Maryland’s six finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching,” said Dr. Carey M. Wright, Interim State Superintendent of Schools. “These finalists represent excellence in teaching and embody the ideals of innovation, dedication, and excellence. Their passion for STEAM education is truly inspiring, and I congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.”

This year’s Maryland finalists in the K-6th grade are:


  • Kimberlie Grabenstein – Williamsport Elementary School (Washington County Public Schools)
  • Jessica Owens – Hillsmere Elementary School (Anne Arundel County Public Schools)
  • Kristina Powell – Maidens Choice School (Baltimore County Public Schools)


  • Christina Baker – Four Seasons Elementary School (Anne Arundel County Public Schools)
  • Lisa Herckner – Grasonville Elementary School (Queen Anne’s County Public Schools)
  • Norah Macphee – Mayfield Woods Middle School (Howard County Public Schools)

The award recognizes teachers that have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. State finalists represent the most outstanding teachers Maryland has to offer and serve as both a model and an inspiration to students and fellow teachers.

Each year, a national committee of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district level personnel, and classroom teachers recommends up to 108 teachers to receive PAEMST awards. Up to two teachers—mathematics or science—from each state receive the award. Teachers who are selected as PAEMST awardees receive a trip to Washington, D.C., where they attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. They also receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), a Presidential certificate, and join an elite cohort of award-winning teachers who can influence state and national STEM teaching.