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Natalie Rachel named state finalist for Presidential Award

Natalie S. Rachel, a highly motivated teacher at Stonewall Tell Elementary School, was recently named a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  A Nationally Board-Certified (NBCT) Early Childhood educator who has earned her Educational Specialist and T-6 certification, Rachel is currently enrolled in a K-5 Science Endorsement program through a Mathematics Science Partnership grant. “Natalie Rachel has proven to be a wonderful addition to the Stonewall Tell family,” said Principal Philip Hammonds. “Her talent and passion for teaching, especially STEAM, aligns with our school’s vision and mission.”

Rachel is a leader in Stonewall Tell Elementary’s Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) Academy. “Her unique perspective as a parent and teacher at our school makes for a thoughtful and cohesive experience for her students,” Hammonds said.

“I love science and I love teaching,” Rachel says. “It’s what I do.” Dr. Donna Barrett-Williams, STEM Director, Fulton County Schools (FCS) was one of the educators who nominated Rachel for the award. “Her passion for elementary science teaching shines through in everything she does,” Barrett-Williams said. “Whether she is delivering a professional development program for teachers, engaging students in hands-on experiences, or coordinating a STEM family night, she is working to have a positive impact on student learning in science.”

Beyond the classroom, Rachel also flourishes, according to Nicole Ford, Program Specialist, South Learning Community. “She presented at the National Science Teachers Association conference on STEM in the Urban Classroom,” Ford said. “She provided an insightful perspective of teaching in an urban setting and the best practices and resources for effective instruction within the general classroom or STEM lab.”

Ethel Lett, S. L. Lewis Elementary School principal, where Rachel began her teaching career, said “Natalie is a lifelong learner who has helped develop partnerships.” “She has enrolled in demanding programs and helped our school earn a grant through the Captain Planet Foundation that helped establish a school garden. We now have a partnership with the South Fulton Master Gardeners from the University of Georgia Extension.”

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.

“To be recognized for teaching is amazing and overwhelming,” Rachel said. “I’m humbled by this whole experience.”