Hockinson science teacher reaches state finals for national teaching award


Renae Skar, a fourth grade Hockinson Heights Elementary School science teacher, is one of four state finalists for the 2024 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The PAEMST is the highest recognition for kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science teachers in the United States, according to a school district press release.

State finalists, including Skar, will now advance to the PAEMST nationals. National award recipients are typically announced by the president of the United States within a year of the state selection, the press release stated.

“Renae Skar is deserving of recognition for her superior work ethic, ability to design rigorous, engaging lessons, and her ability to inspire her students to think of themselves as student scientists who are fully capable of addressing real-world issues and making a positive mark in the world,” Hockinson Heights Elementary Principal Meredith Gannon said in the press release.

Skar is known for using real-world problem solving and projects in her science units. Teaching the science behind salmon has been particularly effective in her classes, Skar said in the press release.

“We learn about salmon throughout the year, which culminates in releasing the salmon we raise into their natural habitat. Having such a meaningful, real-world experience is memorable and demonstrates how actions can make a difference,” Skar said in the release.

PAEMST winners receive a citation signed by the president of the United States, a paid trip for two to attend recognition and professional development events in Washington D.C. and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, the release stated.