Kathleen Gove Olenderski and Danielle Rash were given a Presidential award for excellence in math and science.

Kathleen Gove Olenderski, Alfred G. Waters Middle School math teacher and Danielle Rash, Olive B. Loss Elementary School third grade teacher, were named Presidential Award winners for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in October.

The two Appoquinimink School District teachers were part of a group of 215 STEM educators from across the U.S. and its territories who received what is considered the highest honor given their field.

Matt Burrows, superintendent, said he was proud of Olenderski and Rash and they call the Appo district home.

"Our nation's continued success starts with the women and men who provide leadership in the classroom,”  he said in a press release. “Kathleen and Danielle represent the best of the best, educators who are equipping the next generation with the tools and inspiration they need to excel." 

They received a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a citation signed by the U.S. President at a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Rash said the award is a tremendous honor and as an elementary teacher, it celebrates the efforts of her colleagues to make science meaningful and accessible to the district’s students.

“I believe today’s science classroom reflects a learning community where risk taking, collaboration, and hands-on learning are necessary,” she said. “Good teachers are learning alongside their students, culminating in a deeper three-dimensional understanding of content for our future scientists and engineers.”

Olenderski said she is proud to share the honor with her students, colleagues and community.

“This award would not be possible without the educators and mentors who inspired and supported my curiosity,” she said. “It strengthens my enthusiasm for teaching mathematics and making a difference in the lives of my students.”

Winners were selected by a panel of professional scientists, mathematicians and educators in a process that's administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House. 

Olenderski and Rash were required to demonstrate expertise in the subject matter, a love of teaching, and the ability to motivate and equip all students to be successful. The selection process included a written narrative, recording from the classroom, and a recommendation from the state.

The two will be recognized Nov. 19 at the School Board meeting at 7 p.m.