Fernan, Hiteman win 2012 Presidential teaching award

Cathy Fernan of Milton and Kathy Hiteman of Middleton have been named 2012 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching have been given since 1983 and are considered the nation’s highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science, including computer science.

Fernan and Hiteman are among 102 kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers nationwide who were notified of the 2012 Presidential Teaching award in mid-December. The pair will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also will be invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of education and celebratory events.

Fernan reports she has been having fun with mathematics and her students for 26 years. She currently teaches at Northside Intermediate School in the Milton School District. She has led several Family Math Nights and especially reaches out to parents to guide them through the “new way” mathematics is taught. She has been a teacher for the Yerkes Astrophysics Academy for Young Scientists, is involved with the district’s math curriculum adoption committee, and earned National Board Certification in 2004.

Fernan holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s of education degree in interdisciplinary studies in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University.

Hiteman has taught science for the past 23 years, starting her career at West Middleton Elementary and Glacier Creek Middle schools. She has spent the past three years teaching at Kromery Middle School in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Hiteman, who calls herself lucky to be a teacher because she gets to help her students to learn to love science, founded the district’s annual overnight camping trip to Upham Woods to further the study of environmental science and outdoor learning. She has mentored more than a dozen student teachers, receiving the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperating Teacher award. She has been named a Kohl Teaching Fellow and was her district’s first Distinguished Educator.

Hiteman earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and development, both from the UW-Madison.