A Hays teacher is among educators recognized for their teaching skills through the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Lincoln Elementary School’s Monica Dreiling and three other Kansas teachers were named national finalists, according to a press release from the Kansas Department of Education on Thursday.

Dreiling was named a finalist in 2018 as well.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which was established in 1983 by Congress, is presented annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country.

Nominees complete a rigorous application process that requires them to demonstrate their excellence in content knowledge and ability to adapt to a broad range of learners and teaching environments. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.

Each year, the award alternates between educators teaching kindergarten through sixth grade and those teaching seventh through 12th grades.

Dreiling has been an educator for more than 20 years, teaching fifth-grade science and language arts for the past five years at Lincoln Elementary School. She also has taught special education for 15 years at Lincoln Elementary, LaCrosse Elementary and Ruppenthal Middle School, Russell County USD 407. Dreiling has been an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University for 12 years.

She has been awarded numerous grants, which have created unique science learning opportunities, including an engineering unit to create a prosthetic leg for an injured dog and an intergenerational STEM partnership with assisted-living residents.

Dreiling received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in cross-categorical special education from Fort Hays State University. She is certified in kindergarten through ninth-grade elementary education and K-12 special education. She has endorsements for ESOL, gifted and building leadership. Dreiling is a National Board Certified Teacher.

“The Presidential Award is an immense honor. This prestigious award could not have been achieved without inspiration, guidance and encouragement from students, their families, colleagues and my own family,” Dreiling said. “These individuals, combined with a supportive work environment, are truly a blessing! Receiving this award further ignites my passion for teaching and validates that all students can successfully engage in rigorous lessons that increase confidence and cultivate an interest in science.

Also among the finalists is Heidi Albin, a science teacher at Complete High School Maize. Albin received a master’s degree in secondary education from Fort Hays State University with certifications in biology, chemistry, agriculture and earth and space science. She has a bachelor’s degree in cellular molecular biology.

Albin has spent the past 10 years as the science teacher and character education coordinator at CHSM. She co-authored “186 Days of Character,” a year-long character education curriculum that is freely distributed across Kansas. Albin also successfully implemented a facility therapy dog program at her school, helped CHSM receive recognition as a Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education Green School of the Year and established a handicap accessible community garden.

Albin serves on the board of directors for WILD KS and has written and implemented curriculum for fishing, wilderness survival and camping. She also is a 2017 Milken Educator.

The other Kansas finalists are Sarah Rand, Central Heights Elementary School and Stephen Smith, Christa McAuliffe K-8 Academy, Wichita.