University Lab School teacher to be honored by White House

University Lab School teacher to be honored by White House
National Science Foundation
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POSTED: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 4:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 4:04pm

LSU University Laboratory School first-grade teacher Donna Lamonte was named as the math recipient of the 2012 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from President Barack Obama.

“Receiving the Presidential Award is a confirmation and validation of my belief that the focus of a primary mathematics curriculum should be on teaching children how to think and reason logically about math,” Lamonte said.

“I am honored that my work toward achieving this goal is being recognized with such a prestigious award. I also view this award as an opportunity for me to work with other dedicated educators to help shape the future of math instruction for young children.”

Winners receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be spent as they wish, along with a trip for two to Washington D.C. for a series of recognition events.

The trip, which is scheduled for March, will include a visit to the White House, an awards ceremony and banquet, a few days of professional development with the National Science Foundation and scheduled meetings with education leaders and policy makers.

“I take great pleasure in congratulating Mrs. Lamonte,” said Acting Director of the National Science Foundation, Cora Marrett, in a congratulatory letter. “This is the highest honor a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching.”

Lamonte credits her colleagues at the Lab School and university wide for challenging and aiding her in this accomplishment.

Established by Congress in 1983, the Presidential Award of Excellence program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year. Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. The award recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Candidates undergo a highly selective review process at the state and national levels before being named winners by the President.

Lamonte, who was nominated by her colleague Ellen Daugherty, has spent the last 33 years teaching young children, 25 of those at the Lab School. In addition to the first grade, Lamonte has also taught second grade and served as an instructional coach.

“I congratulate Donna for her well-deserved recognition from President Obama,” said Damon Andrew, dean of the College of Human Sciences & Education. “Her achievements as an educator are truly inspirational, and her mentorship of current and future teachers multiplies her impact on mathematics education in the state of Louisiana and beyond.”

Lamonte’s classroom mathematics curriculum fosters her students’ abilities to use mental mathematics techniques to solve challenging real-world problems. She hopes to build her students’ confidence in their own abilities and foster a shared enthusiasm for mathematics. 

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