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David Sladkey recognized for excellence in math education, eligible for national award

David+Sladkey+and+his+wife%2C+Linda+Sladkey%2C+pose+for+a+photo+after%0Ahe+was+recognized+for+his+excellence+in+math+education+at+a+dinner+at+Fermilab.
David Sladkey and his wife, Linda Sladkey, pose for a photo after
he was recognized for his excellence in math education at a dinner at Fermilab.

David Sladkey and his wife, Linda Sladkey, pose for a photo after he was recognized for his excellence in math education at a dinner at Fermilab.

Photo source: Stephanie Vinton

Photo source: Stephanie Vinton

David Sladkey and his wife, Linda Sladkey, pose for a photo after he was recognized for his excellence in math education at a dinner at Fermilab.

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Naperville Central math teacher of 24 years, David Sladkey, is being considered for a national award for excellence in math education. On Nov. 2, he was recognized at the state level at a dinner at Fermilab.

Each year, up to 108 teachers are honored with receiving The Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Granted every other year to middle-grade and high school teachers, the award is a recognition of achievement in STEM education.

Educators across the country either apply or are nominated to receive this award. There will be a national recognition ceremony during which one math and one science teacher will receive the award.

The national award, according to the PAEMST website, consists of “a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a paid trip to Washington, D.C. and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.”

Ten total teachers have been recognized in Illinois— five science teachers and five math teachers. Sladkey is one of the five Illinois math teacher finalists. Two of the 10 educators who are state finalists, one math and one science teacher,
will be chosen to represent Illinois and receive the award at an event in Washington, D.C., next year.

“I’m so honored just to be recognized,” Sladkey said. “This school has such an unbelievable atmosphere of learning and
growing. I just feel so lucky to be here. The administration is so supportive.”

Scott Miller, math department instructional coordinator, was in attendance at the recognition dinner and is the one who nominated Sladkey for the award.

“He’s one of the top teachers in terms of working with technology and new instructional techniques with students,” Miller said. “I feel like I could have nominated quite a few teachers so I decided to start with him and hopefully nominate some other teachers in the future.”

Sladkey believes that the positive attitudes of students and staff are a contributing factor to why his teaching methods have been successful.

“The teaching environment makes all the difference in the world,” Sladkey said. “What I like to emphasize is to have students engaged during class. I really want to give students ownership for their learning.”

This year’s 10 finalists expect to learn who the two Illinois representatives will be by next summer. In the meantime, Sladkey is glad to provide students with new learning opportunities.

“I’m not the only teacher who has emphasized [self-directedness] instead of my students only relying on me,” Sladkey
said. “I’m trying to provide an opportunity for them to get stronger as a math student, a student in general and as a person.”

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David Sladkey recognized for excellence in math education, eligible for national award