Becky Byer, a Kelly Walsh High School teacher in math and computer science, has been named a 2021 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) State Finalist.

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Byer has been teaching for 17 years. She began her career at Dean Morgan Junior High, before transferring to Kelly Walsh, where she has remained for 16 years, teaching math and computer science.

Byer said she was honored to be nominated for the award, and she said that her inspiration for teaching comes from those with whom she works beside every day.

“There are so many people deserving of this award, it was an honor just to be nominated," Byer stated. "As a student, I had phenomenal teachers in our district who inspired me to excel in both math and computer science.  In my K-12 education, I had teachers such as Leah Merchant, Marilyn Stafford, and Becky Underwood who inspired me to become a math and computer science teacher."

Byer also said that in addition to local math and science classes at KW, she also works as a regional instructor.

"I am a T3 Regional Instructor for Texas Instruments," she said. "This has provided me with a network of outstanding teachers to learn from and grow alongside. I strive to show students statistics and computer science are applicable to their daily lives. I'm inspired to see my students feel confident and accomplished when they use problem solving and creativity to solve problems.”

One of the biggest lessons Byers likes imparting upon students is that it's not the end of the world if a mistake is made; what's important is learning from those mistakes and using them to better themselves.

“I get to come to school every day and challenge students to be their best self," she said. "I want to show students it's ok to not always know the answer right away. We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. I am excited when students are excited about their accomplishments in learning. Regardless of their path in life, I want to show students they can accomplish anything with perseverance and hard work.”

That is exactly what Byer has been doing for the past 17 years, which is why she is being honored with this award.

According to the Wyoming Department of Education Memorandum (2021), “The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a K-12 mathematics or science teacher can receive in the U.S. This program authorizes the President to present 108 awards each year. Awards are given to exemplary mathematics and science teachers in each of the 50 states and the four U.S. jurisdictions. 

"These teachers are recognized for their contribution to excellence in teaching and learning. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their schools and communities, and leaders in the state and nation. This growing network of award-winning teachers serves as a vital national resource for the improvement of mathematics and science education. 

"Each year, finalists in each state are chosen for the Presidential Award through a rigorous peer review process. Their applications are forwarded to the National Science Foundation where the final selection for the national Presidential Awardee is made.”

Byer has worked hard to offer students the best in education, and this nomination is recognition of that hard work and that commitment to offering students the best education, both in school and in life, that she possibly can.

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