Jason Daniels, Alaska State Finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching
“Our children, to a greater and greater degree, will inherit a world full of STEM, which is all the more reason to set our students up for success by providing quality experiences in the STEM field, whether it be through career exploration, like Upstream Academy, or project-based learning in the classroom. STEM experiences are so important!”
–Jason Daniels, KPBSD teacher, and PAEMST finalist
A fifth grade teacher at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Jason Daniels enjoys working with kids every bit as much today as he did when he first started teaching 20 years ago. Jason teaches English-Language Arts and Math, as well as Health, German language, and STEM. He graduated from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Elementary Education and received his Masters in Educational Technology from the University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau.
Jason is an International Teaching Fellow and a National Board Certified Teacher, which highlights his interest in global understandings and pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning. His favorite subject is science. Jason enjoys interacting with students through hands on authentic learning experiences in and out of the classroom.
Every month he takes his class on the Adopt-a-Stream Program* where everyone becomes a custodian and caretaker of the local salmon spawning stream at Slikok Creek. He coordinated a NASA astronaut visit to his school, a visit from STARlab portable planetarium, and currently he takes part in Upstream Academy, whose mission is to increase STEM awareness among middle school students, especially those from under-served populations.
Staying active is an important part of Jason’s career. For the past 18 years he has coached wrestling, modeling good sportsmanship, perseverance, and character building. In 2012, Jason completed an Australian Teacher Exchange and taught in Australia for a year. He loves teaching, learning, and challenging himself in new ways. He also enjoys traveling and outdoor adventures with his wife.
“I have been fortunate to know Mr. Daniels for many years and have seen him in action with his students,” said Superintendent Sean Dusek. “He is one of our district’s finest educators, especially in the areas of engaging students, integrating technology in the curriculum and most importantly, demonstrating a high level of care for all of his students. I can give no higher praise than to say that I would have my own children in his classroom if given the chance. He is truly exceptional.”
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year.
Presidential Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
* The Slikok Creek Adopt a Stream Program is a fifth grade program at K-Beach Elementary. Both Mr. Daniel’s class, together with fifth grade teacher Suzanne Klaben’s class participate. Daniels and Klaben coordinate to take their classes down once a month and work together for this interactive hands on program.