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PA Department of Education Applauds Two National Award-Winning STEM Educators


Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today congratulated the Pennsylvania recipients of the 2022 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The two outstanding educators teach at School District of Philadelphia and Juniata Valley School District.

“Pennsylvania continues to be a national leader for innovation in STEM and computer science education, and that would not be possible without the support of our dedicated, talented, and passionate educators,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega. “Congratulations to Jessica Tilli and Kristin Joivell for their hard work and for representing the best of Pennsylvania.”

PAEMST is the highest honor awarded by the federal government to teachers for excellence in K-6 science, technology, mathematics, and computer science. Jessica Tilli from Meredith Elementary School in the School District of Philadelphia and Kristin Joivell from Juniata Valley Elementary School in the Juniata Valley School District were selected as recipients of the PAEMST for Pennsylvania.

Previous award recipients from Pennsylvania include:

  • Susan Matthias, Kennett Middle School (2019)
  • William McWatters, Octorara Area Senior High School (2019)
  • Mary Brown, Central Columbia Elementary School (2018)
  • Joel Crowley, Milton Hershey School (2018)
  • Steven Miller, Upper St. Clair High School (2017)
  • Janet Waldeck, Pittsburgh Allderdice High School (2017)

PAEMST was established by Congress in 1983 and is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The award recognizes educators with extensive content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. The president can select up to 108 educators annually for the award. Since 1983, more than 5,200 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Awardees reflect the expertise and dedication of the nation’s teaching corps, and they demonstrate the positive impact of excellent teachers on student achievement.

Pennsylvania remains a leader in STEM education. Since 2018, the governor has secured $20 million annually for PAsmart, which expands STEM and computer science education to learners of all ages. Targeted and Advancing PAsmart grants support high-quality STEM and computer science learning and professional development opportunities to communities across Pennsylvania, including within early learning centers, libraries, out-of-school time providers, career and technical education centers, post-secondary institutions, and K-12 schools. PDE has awarded 438 PAsmart grants since the 2018-19 school year.

For more information on the awards and recipients, please visit the PAEMST website at more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander -

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