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Jessye Gaines earns Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching

MADISON – Jessye Gaines, engineering teacher at Bob Jones High School, has received the highest award that the U.S. government gives to teachers of mathematics, science and computer science in grades K-12.

Gaines and one other Alabama teacher are 2020 recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching or PAEMST, established in 1983. (whitehouse.gov)

A panel of state and national-level distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators assess applications before recommending nominees. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with the National Science Foundation, coordinate nominations and awards.

Award winners live in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Education Activity or DoDEA schools and U.S. territories.

Dr. Ed Nichols, Superintendent of Madison City Schools, said district employees are excited about Gaines’ award. “As a product of our school district, Jessye Gaines exemplifies the high level of commitment and dedication that is the standard for our students and teachers. I applaud her for this tremendous honor.”

Bob Jones Principal Sylvia Lambert is excited about Gaines’ accomplishments. “Jessye Gaines won the state-level award in the spring, was elevated to the competition’s national level,” Lambert said. Gaines consults with business partners in the community that benefit from the internship program that helps students learn and network from job opportunities.

“This presidential award is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She exemplifies excellence in her classroom and within the community each day. Mrs. Gaines is so deserving of this recognition as she positively impacts, challenges and connects with her students,” Lambert said.

A Madison native, Gaines graduated from Bob Jones in 2006. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at Auburn University.

Recently, Gaines was named as MCS District Secondary Teacher of the Year. At Bob Jones, she sponsors Green Power Patriot Racing and Society of Women Engineers. Gaines has taught at Bob Jones since 2010.

“If we can communicate to students the ‘why’ behind the content, give them the opportunity to apply content outside the classroom, and remind our students that working hard to make the world a better place is our job as global citizens, students will be inspired to care about the content,” Gaines said.

Husband Luke, also a Bob Jones alumnus, works as an engineer for Shape Fidelity Inc. The Gaines family includes daughters Kay, 7, and Glenne, 5. Jessye’s parents are Mark and Rev. Mary Jo Gessner. Jessye’s brother Harris is choral director at James Clemens High School.

Gaines teaches at First Baptist Church of Madison.

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