District 196’s Kindem receives Presidential Award for Science Teaching

District 196 Coordinator of Innovative Educational Programs Cathy Kindem is one of 102 teachers nationwide selected to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching this year, according to a Dec. 20 White House news release.

The Presidential Award for Excellence is given annually to up to two teachers from each state, one in math and one in science. Kindem was selected as one of two state finalists in science in 2012. The state finalists were judged by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators, and Kindem was selected Minnesota’s recipient for science teaching.

“These teachers are inspiring today’s young students to become the next generation of American scientists, mathematicians and innovators,” President Barack Obama said. “Through their passion and dedication, and by sharing their excitement about science, technology, engineering and math, they are helping us build a promising future for all our children.”

Kindem was a fifth-grade teacher at Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies for six years and the science specialist at Cedar Park Elementary STEM School in Apple Valley for five years before accepting her current job at the District Office in August 2013. She grew up in Mankato, earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and has her master’s degree and doctorate in education from Hamline University.

“The Presidential Award is an honor and a blessing,” Kindem said. “My passion for science has developed since I was a young child, and it is a privilege to now influence others to wonder, discover and explore the world around them. I am thankful for wonderful colleagues who share a desire to foster positive attitudes toward science in all students. My goal is to continue to support, design and advocate for exemplary science programs. This award is a treasure I will always keep in my heart.”

“Cathy is an outstanding educator and innovative thinker who is constantly looking for ways to enhance the learning experience for students,” said District 196 Superintendent Jane Berenz. “She is truly a deserving recipient of this prestigious award and we are thankful to have her as part of the District 196 team.”

Recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science teaching receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. In addition, Kindem and the other recipients will be invited to Washington, D.C., later this year for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the administration.