A science teacher from Manchester Valley High School, Hannah McNett, has been named a finalist for the 2019 Presidential Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and Science.
The award is the American government’s highest recognition for mathematics and science teachers. McNett was one of three teachers from Maryland recommended for the award. She teaches environmental science and biology courses, and was nominated in the category of Grades 7-12 Science
“I had a grandfather who took me fishing when I was very young. And I was hooked,” she said. No pun intended.
If she is selected, McNett will be commended by the President of the United States and recognized in Washington. A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation accompanies other honors.
Even preparing her application, after being nominated by one of her administrators at Manchester Valley, was a learning process for McNett. She had to pull together a written examination of her pedagogy, a video segment of her teaching, and documentation of her professional awards and development.
It gave her a chance to reflect and improve, but still, she said laughing, it was a “very humbling process, because you look back and you go, ‘Oh, God, it was terrible.’”
At Manchester Valley and in Carroll County’s school system, she said she is fortunate to have cutting-edge leadership.
“There’s an expectation to excel and to try new things, but yet hold fast to the objectives in the curriculum,” she said. She praised CCPS Supervisor of Science Jim Peters and Coordinator of Secondary Science Sarah Weaver.
McNett follows in the footsteps of her grandparents and mother who were all teachers. Her husband is one as well.
He daughter was almost doomed to follow in their footsteps, she joked, noting that her daughter plans to pursue a teaching degree and, If McNett wins the national award, she hopes to put the prize money toward her daughter’s education.
“I was hoping she’d be a science teacher. But nope, she’s gone to the dark side. Gone to the math side," McNett said. “It’s OK. I’ll forgive her.”
For all young science teachers, she advises, “Don’t forget to be inquisitive. ... Remember why you wanted to be a scientist, that you have questions and you want to solve problems, and you want to be exploratory.”
To keep up with the activities of the science program at Manchester Valley, keep an eye on their Facebook page or the school’s website. They host environmental cleanups and science events that are open to the public periodically.