Kourtney Shumate named state finalist for highest national honor in science, mathematics

Carolina Elementary’s Shumate named state finalist for highest national honor in science, mathematics
Posted on 01/19/2016
Kourtney ShumateHARTSVILLE, S.C. – Kourtney Shumate, the coordinating teacher at Carolina Elementary School, is a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The award is the highest recognition a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science teacher can receive.

Shumate moves on to the national consideration process, where she could be one of two presidential awardees from South Carolina.

“What an remarkable accomplishment by Kourtney Shumate to be honored as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching,” said Dr. Eddie Ingram, Darlington County School District superintendent. “This district is extremely fortunate to have one of the best science teachers in the country working here and preparing our students with a 21st century education.”

Presidential awardees receive a certificate signed by the president of the United States, a trip to Washington, D.C. and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Each state chooses up to five science teachers and five mathematics teachers every year as PAEMST state finalists. Two presidential awardees are then chosen from each state, traditionally a math teacher and a science teacher. This year, South Carolina selected four finalists in each discipline.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be selected along with the other educators from around the state,” Shumate said. “It is truly humbling. I want to thank everybody who has had a hand in my growth as an educator. One thing I’ve reflected on is just how much I’ve developed as a teacher within Darlington County School District. Without all of these amazing educators around me, I would not be where I am.”

Shumate traveled to Columbia on Jan. 13 for a S.C. Department of Education award luncheon, accompanied by district administrators, Carolina Elementary Principal Donna Barrett and her mother.

“We are so excited to have her at Carolina Elementary,” Barrett said. “With her expertise she can help all of our teachers, and she’s done it already.”

A graduate of Coker College, Shumate taught at Thornwell School for the Arts from 1999-2001. She later taught seventh grade science at what was then Hartsville Junior High - now Hartsville Middle School (HMS) - for 14 years before moving to Carolina Elementary as coordinating teacher.

Beth Herring, master teacher at HMS, nominated Shumate for the PAEMST while Shumate taught at HMS. The application process was rigorous. It included producing videos of in-class instruction and accompanying compositions explaining her education philosophies, teaching methods and professional experience at the school, district and state levels.

Shumate holds a Master of Education in technology in the classroom and is nationally certified. She spent the past five years working on the new state science standards. She also served on the state textbook committee, and she works with district teachers to develop methods of improving classroom literacy in science instruction and other content areas.

Shumate thanked her mother, Debbie Grant, for all of her support. She also thanked her two “awesome” daughters, Averie and Carter, who were “very excited” to see the PAEMST trophy.

For more information about the PAEMST, visit www.paemst.org and www.ed.sc.gov.