It was announced earlier this month that Hoover City Schools teachers Kristin Bundren and Kevin Pughsley have been recognized for their overall excellence in teaching, earning Presidential Awards for Excellence in mathematics and science teaching.
The awards are administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. According to the foundation, the presidential award is the highest award given by the United States government to K-12 math and science teachers.
During the week of Oct. 14, Bundren, of Spain Park High School, and Pughsley, of Berry Middle School, flew to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony alongside fellow award winners from throughout the country.
Bundren, a 2017 state finalist, is Spain Park’s science department chairman and teaches ninth-grade pre-AP biology. Additionally, she serves the district as an engaged learning facilitator and member of the curriculum development team.
In a released statement, Bundren said the Presidential Award “celebrates teachers who have a passion for learning and instill that same passion in their students.”
“I am honored to be considered for such an award and recognize that achieving this award is only through the support of colleagues who have contributed to my growth as an educator and my students who inspire me daily,” she said.
She has presented programs at local, regional and national conferences on differentiated teaching, formative assessment, technology and scientific argumentation.
According to the release, Bundren uses teaching strategies that incorporate various learning styles to meet different needs of her students. Bundren encourages scientific thinking by using argument-driven inquiry, which allows for problem-solving, discussion and explanation.
Kevin Pughsley, a 2018 state finalist, teaches 10th grade science at Berry Middle School and previously spent 10 years teaching at Calera Middle School, in the Shelby County School System.
“I believe each person is born with a purpose in life, and I’ve always felt that teaching is mine,” said Pughsley. “Over the past 12 years, I have been blessed to teach science to sixth graders, with a focus on building relationships and setting high expectations in a high-energy and positive environment. Winning this award further encourages me that I’m living my life’s purpose. I am grateful for the love and support of my family, colleagues, and students who have helped me become the educator I am today.”
Pughsley surveys his students every nine weeks, which has inspired fellow teachers throughout the school to do the same as a way to gain feedback and improve effectiveness.
Over the past few years, he has planned and led field trips to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to give students the opportunity to connect firsthand with the material they have studied throughout the year.
As a consultant for A-Plus College Ready, Pughsley writes curriculum and teaches summer sessions to earth science teachers across Alabama. The program’s goal is to foster an innovative culture for teachers and to equip and empower them to expect more.