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Two Carroll County Public Schools science teachers have been chosen as two of the three Maryland finalists for the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. (Emily Chappell/Carroll County Times video)

Two Carroll County Public Schools science teachers have been chosen as two of the three Maryland finalists for the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

And for both teachers, a combination of a love for learning, as well as a passion to help students, keeps them going each and every day.

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Denise Kresslein, a sixth-grade science teacher at West Middle School, and Noah Scholl, a sixth-grade science teacher at Mount Airy Middle School, have had their names forwarded to the National Science Foundation for consideration as the Maryland Awardee, which will be selected in the spring of 2019, according to a news release from the school system.

For both Kresslein and Scholl, being chosen came as an exciting surprise.

“I think at first I was a little shocked,” Scholl said, adding that he was humbled and never thought he’d be someone chosen.

Scholl said he was grateful to be recognized for his 11 years of teaching at Mount Airy Middle School.

Kresslein echoed those thoughts, and said she was “super excited and very honored.” It’s especially great that two of the three state finalists come from Carroll, she said, and is an honor for CCPS.

Westminster West Middle School sixth-grade science teacher Denise Kresslein, pictured Thursday, Sept. 19, 2018, has been selected as one of three Maryland finalists for the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Westminster West Middle School sixth-grade science teacher Denise Kresslein, pictured Thursday, Sept. 19, 2018, has been selected as one of three Maryland finalists for the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

She’s been teaching in Carroll since 1996, though spent her first three years teaching at South Carroll High School before moving to West Middle School. She spent a few years at home with her children, and then came back to West Middle in 2012.

Kresslein said she wanted the opportunity to work with middle schoolers after having taught them during student teaching.

“I love the sixth grade[rs], how they're coming into a new school and they go through a lot of change during that year and [are] really becoming more independent,” she said.

During this year, Kresslein said they focus on introductions to chemistry and physic concepts. This past week, she said, they worked on understanding ways to measure mass and volume, working with water with food coloring and test tubes.

“They love actually experiencing science,” she said, adding that she works to make her lessons as engaging as possible and to do activities that help the students become creative and scientific thinkers.

For Kresslein, being a teacher has been a goal of hers for many years.

“I actually started here at West Middle [as a student] as a tutor. I used to help students and then in high school I was a writing assistant. So I just continued wanting to help people,” she said.

Scholl too had a drive to go into education after he had a teacher in high school who impacted his life.

“I think from that point on I kind of knew I wanted to be a teacher,” he said.

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In college, when he began working in labs, he said he really enjoyed the process of learning and those “lightbulb moments.” Between that experience and his time spent student teaching, the decision to go into education was solidified.

Mount Airy Middle School sixth-grade science teacher Noah Scholl, pictured Thursday, Sept. 19, 2018, has been selected as one of three Maryland finalists for the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Mount Airy Middle School sixth-grade science teacher Noah Scholl, pictured Thursday, Sept. 19, 2018, has been selected as one of three Maryland finalists for the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

“Just working with kids — it was fun. They were full of energy,” he added.

Scholl said teaching middle school is different than other times. The time period can be fraught with challenges and ups and downs for students, he said.

The students are still kids, they’re still seeking their niche — but they’re also still willing to listen to adults and haven’t figured out quite what they want to do in life.

“I feel like I can have a huge impact on kids — just helping them figure out what they’re excited about,” Scholl added.

In terms of curriculum, Scholl said he’s been focusing on looking at motion and what the different forces are that cause it. Students recently learned about calculating speed and velocity, he said.

He echoed Kresslein, and said education — especially — science has to be hands on, and taught through touching and playing, he said.

When it’s interactive and engaging, and lessons get students out of their seats, the kids can connect with the information best, he said.

“All the pieces fall together,” Scholl added.

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