Letter from Award-Winning Science Teacher

PAEMST Awardee writes to the Secretary

Last month Secretary Arne Duncan met with Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  As a follow up to that discussion, science teacher Megan O’Neill sent this letter to the secretary, affirming their mutual commitment to STEM education.

Dear Mr. Duncan:

Dear Mr. Duncan,I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your packed schedule to talk to the Presidential Award Winners for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.  I am a high school science teacher and represented Alabama with the award!  The entire week of recognition activities was so incredible and made me feel so honored, and meeting with you was a truly memorable part.

With the current publication of the 2009 PISA study and the low ranking of the U.S., Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) obviously need to be a large focus area for our Nation.  Your obvious concern for the PISA study rankings of the U.S. makes me hopeful that we can make strong progress with STEM.  The educational methods that we will need to be successful in the 21st Century are going to need adjustments to keep up with our changing world.  I am confident with your vision and willingness to listen to the teachers on the “front lines” in the classrooms, we can move forward.  During our meeting you also provided meaningful insight about how money is being spent in education and where funding is or is not providing effective results. Thank you also for keeping a pulse on this.

Hopefully we can all work together to find solutions to our Nation’s current educational challenges, as our children’s future success relies upon it.  I will be glad to assist in any way that I can and appreciate your lifelong dedication to these topics!

Most sincerely,

Megan F. O’Neill
Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching – AL
National Board Certified – Science
Fairhope High School
Fairhope, Alabama


  1. If only there were specific suggestions for Duncan to correct his vision of more standardized testing to achieve academic success! I am confident this PAEMST winner does not drill and kill but engages her students in active science, critical thinking and helping her students relate STEM the real world while learning content. (I do not personally know her.)
    All I see coming from Duncan is test, test and higher test standards. Not 21st century teaching or learning there!

  2. I concur with your comments to Mr. Duncan and hope he will be able to steer the needed adjustments to make progress across grade levels in STEM in a timely manner. With dedicated and awesome teachers like yourself who are PAEMST winners, you know hold a higher responsibility to keep abreast of our national progress and push it foward at the local, state and national levels. You are well on your way to making great strides for our students! Congratulations!

Comments are closed.