West Virginia Educators Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

On October 15, 2019, STEM teachers were announced as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The awards are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.

Erika Klose

2017 PAEMST winner for 7-12, Science is Erika Klose of Winfield, WV

Erika Klose spent 11 years teaching seventh-grade Science at Winfield Middle School. She is currently the Assistant Director in the Office of Middle and Secondary Learning for the West Virginia Department of Education. She is excited to widen her reach and impact all West Virginia students.

While in the classroom, she presented engaging, student-centered lessons, incorporating technology and focusing on hands-on experiments that encouraged students to own their learning. Erika’s love of science, however, goes well beyond the classroom. A trained geologist, she worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, before entering education.

Erika’s students won $10,000 for classroom technology during the first ever Hour of Code and consistently brought home awards from school-wide and county STEM fairs. She coordinated activities for her school to experience science, such as an event about women in STEM, which included U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito, and Toyota, a large local employer. Erika is the President of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association. She earned a B.A. in geology from Smith College, an M.S. in geological sciences from Lehigh University, and an M.A. in teaching from Marshall University. Erika is a National Board Certified Teacher and holds certifications in general science and earth and space science.

Jaime Pettit

2018 PAEMST winner for K-6, Science is Jaime Pettit from Moundsville Middle School

Jaime Pettit has been an educator for 12 years and has spent the last 10 years at Moundsville Middle School (MMS). She is currently the sixth-grade science teacher and previously taught at St. Michael Parish School for two years.

Jaime is a firm believer in hands-on, inquiry-based science education. Her students have the opportunity to learn science in her classroom by doing science and participating in activities to pursue new knowledge. Jaime is the science club advisor and science fair coordinator for MMS where she has had a student reach the international science fair two years in a row. Jaime is also a mentor to new teachers and student teachers.

Jaime shares her love of science with colleagues around the state by presenting at state conferences, training teachers on new science curriculum, and helping to coordinate her county’s professional development days.

Jaime earned her B.A. in elementary education from West Liberty State College, and a M.A. in elementary education from West Virginia University. She also holds her administration certification from West Virginia University and post-master’s certificates in leadership & accountability and curriculum and instruction from Capella University. Jaime is currently finishing her Ed.D in curriculum and instruction. She is certified in elementary education and general science.

To learn more about the PAEMST recognition, visit https://www.paemst.org/recognition.  For information about nominating a West Virginia science teacher for the PAEMST award, visit The Award Process Overview or contact WV PAEMST Coordinator Dr. Deb Hemler at Deb.Hemler@fairmontstate.edu.