South Alumna Receives a National Award for Teaching
Posted on February 10, 2022
Hutchens Elementary kindergarten teacher Nicole Baranov recently received one of the nation’s top awards for teaching, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Baranov earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a reading specialist master’s degree from the University of South Alabama.
She is one of just two winners from Alabama and just the eleventh Mobile County Public Schools teacher to receive this prestigious award in the program’s 40-year history.
“It’s really exciting. Teaching is such a hard job, and it’s validating to know all of my hard work is paying off,” Baranov said. “My kids love learning, and I’m glad because I love teaching.”
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teaching. Baranov was honored for her efforts in teaching math.
“It’s fun to teach math at this level,” she said. “You can pull out the manipulatives and stories and make it come alive for the kids. They really enjoy math at this age.”
The awards were established by Congress in 1983. The President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year; the awards can be given to teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, and the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).
The award recognizes teachers who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. Since the program's inception, more than 5,200 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.
Baranov has been a Mobile County Public Schools educator for 15 years, the past 10 years at Hutchens Elementary School. She began her teaching career at Kate Shepard Elementary School, where she taught kindergarten for five years.
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