University Laboratory School Teacher Receives Presidential Award


LSU University Laboratory School (ULS) first grade teacher Donna Lamonte was named as the math recipient of the 2012 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) from President Barack Obama.

“Receiving the Presidential Award is a confirmation and validation of my belief that the focus of a primary mathematics curriculum should be on teaching children how to think and reason logically about math,” Lamonte said. “I am honored that my work toward achieving this goal is being recognized with such a prestigious award. I also view this award as an opportunity for me to work with other dedicated educators to help shape the future of math instruction for young children.”


Winners receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be spent as they wish, along with a trip for two to Washington D.C. for a series of recognition events. The trip which is scheduled for March 2-5, 2014 will include a visit to the White House, an awards ceremony and banquet, a few days of professional development with the National Science Foundation and scheduled meetings with education leaders and policy makers.


“I take great pleasure in congratulating Mrs. Lamonte. This is the highest honor a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching,” Acting Director of the National Science Foundation, Cora Marrett said in a congratulatory letter.


Lamonte credits her colleagues at ULS and university wide for challenging and aiding her in this accomplishment.


“The Lab School’s motto is ‘Total Effort in Every Endeavor.’ That applies to students and faculty alike,” she said. “Our faculty is comprised of knowledgeable, dedicated teachers who not only provide effective classroom instruction, but also serve as leaders in the field of education. We are constantly raising the bar for our students and for ourselves. I believe the Lab School serves an even greater role for the College of Human Sciences & Education, the university and the state education system. We provide a model of what successful instructional program and effective teaching looks like.”


Established by Congress in 1983, the PAEMST program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year. Awards are given to mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. The award recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Candidates undergo a highly selective review process at the state and national levels before being named winners by the President.


Lamonte, who was nominated by her colleague Ellen Daugherty, has spent the last 33 years teaching young children, 25 of which have been spent at ULS. In addition to the first grade, Lamonte has also taught second grade and served as an Instructional Coach. The first 8 years of her career were spent teaching second grade at local public and parochial schools.


“I congratulate Donna for her well-deserved recognition from President Obama,” CHSE Dean Damon Andrew said. “Her achievements as an educator are truly inspirational, and her mentorship of current and future teachers multiplies her impact on mathematics education in the state of Louisiana and beyond. Donna’s commitment to excellence truly exemplifies the motto of the Lab School, and we are most proud to call her a colleague.”


Lamonte’s classroom mathematics curriculum fosters her students’ abilities to use mental mathematics techniques to solve challenging real-world problems. She hopes to build her students’ confidence in their own abilities and foster a shared enthusiasm for mathematics.


She serves as a mentor for new teachers and student interns. She has shared her mathematics instructional practices with other teachers through presentations at local, state, and national conferences. Lamonte is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and state and local mathematics teacher organizations. She holds the Hines Family Endowed Professorship for the LSU College of Human Sciences and Education and serves on the college’s PARCC Leadership Team.


Lamonte has a B.S. in elementary education and an M.Ed. in elementary reading from LSU. She is certified in elementary grades first through eighth and as a reading specialist.  She is a National Board Certified Early Childhood Generalist.


About University Lab School
The University Laboratory School was established by the College of Education, now known as the College of Human Sciences & Education, of Louisiana State University and has operated under its auspices for nearly 100 years. This coeducational school exists as an independent system to provide training opportunities for pre- and in-service teachers and to serve as a demonstration and educational research center. The school is located on the main campus of LSU in Baton Rouge.

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About CHSE
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. Formed in 2012, CHSE brings together programs and capitalizes on individual strengths to create a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant issues we face as a state and nation. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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