The Presidential Award is an incredible honor! Being recognized on a national level affirms the work I do to ensure students develop confidence in mathematics has merit. The commitment required of educators to develop independent problem solvers is all encompassing. Building a love of learning and observing student growth are the ultimate goals and awards in themselves. The Presidential Award is the icing on the cake! It is an honor and privilege to be acknowledged in the field of mathematics.

Laura Koch Memphis, TN | K-6, Mathematics, 2020

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Laura Koch has been an educator at Richland Elementary School for 19 years and has spent the last 17 years teaching fourth grade mathematics. In addition to teaching three mathematics classes, she is a key member of Richland’s Instructional Leadership Team, collaborating on decisions for continued school improvement. As the mathematics content lead, Laura also provides mentorship and support to kindergarten through fifth grade teachers. She works to develop and facilitate effective professional development to ensure standards are cohesive and taught with integrity. Laura recently introduced a professional development opportunity focused on strategies for success. She developed training within a ‘growth mindset,’ and based the training on identifying relevant data and using standards-based instruction. At the district level, Laura serves on an advisory council to amplify teacher voices and is an advocate for improved professional development. Laura’s unique data-driven instructional practices lead her students to consistently show growth and high achievement. She teaches students to value mistakes as learning opportunities and she consistently draws the parallel between learning and its application in life. She is a reflective practitioner who intentionally creates classroom environments framed in accountability, student empowerment, and, above all, equity. Her students build mathematical confidence and learn to value knowledge. In 2021, Laura was named the districtwide Teacher of the Year. Laura has a B.A., magna cum laude, in human development and an M.Ed. in curriculum and development, both from Christian Brothers University. She is certified in kindergarten through eighth grade elementary education and is a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist.

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