Kyla Burns Named PAEMST Finalist

(Written by the Iowa Department of Education)

The Iowa Department of Education today announced that six Iowa educators have been named 2021 finalists in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
This year’s finalists are:

  • Dominic Audia, who teaches at Iowa City West High School
  • Sarah Martin, who teaches at Shenandoah Middle School
  • Stephanie Steines, who teaches at Decorah High School


  • Kyla Burns, who teaches at Johnston High School
  • Shannon McLaughlin, who teaches at Norwalk High School
  • Allison McPherren, who teaches at Southeast Polk High School

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year. Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary teachers.

“It is a great honor for these educators to be named finalists for this prestigious award,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “They are finding innovative ways to engage students in learning and serve as models of excellence and inspiration to their students, colleagues and communities. I congratulate each of our finalists for this well-deserved recognition.”

More than 5,000 teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions have been recognized since Congress created the program in 1983. The awards are administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Recognized for their contributions in the classroom and their profession, award recipients are leaders in the improvement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and are role models for their colleagues and in their communities.

Award recipients will receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend recognition events and pursue professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the president of the United States.

Winners will be announced later this year.