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Two HCS Educators Earn Nation's Highest Teaching Honor

Pughsley and Bundren

- Two Hoover City Schools teachers have been recognized for their overall excellence in teaching - both receiving the nation’s highest award given by the United States Government to K-12 math and science teachers.

Kristin Bundren (Spain Park High School) and Kevin Pughsley (Berry Middle School) have been named 2019 National Award winners for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST awards on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Bundren and Pughsley flew to Washington, D.C. the week of October 14, 2019, for special recognition alongside their colleagues from across the United States.

Bundren, a 2017 State Finalist, uses teaching strategies that incorporate various learning styles to meet the differentiated needs of her students. Students are challenged daily in her classroom through lessons where they carry out investigations, develop models, and analyze data. Bundren works to increase scientific thinking by using argument-driven inquiry to allow opportunities for problem-solving, discussion and explanation. 

Bundren has served as a teacher leader in her school as Science Department Chair and in her district as an engaged learning facilitator and member of the curriculum development team. She has presented at local, regional and national conferences on differentiated teaching, formative assessment, technology, and scientific argumentation.

Bundren earned a B.A. in secondary science education from Auburn University. She is certified in general science. She is a National Board Certified teacher in adolescent and young adulthood science.

Kevin Pughsley, a 2018 State Finalist, has been an educator for 12 years teaching sixth grade Earth Science. He currently teaches at Berry Middle School and previously spent 10 years teaching at Calera Middle School in the Shelby County School System.

Pughsley’s desire for reaching all students is evident in his practice of surveying his students every nine weeks. The survey asks students to provide feedback on his effectiveness as a teacher, their interest in future labs, and how they value the activities completed to-date. This surveying practice has inspired fellow teachers throughout the school to incorporate student surveys into their classrooms to gain feedback and improve effectiveness.

Over the past few years, he has led and planned field trips to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Each trip allows more than 100 sixth grade students to gain first-hand experience and the ability to connect with the material they have studied throughout the year, especially as it relates to space exploration.

As a consultant for A-Plus College Ready, Pughsley writes curriculum and teaches summer sessions to earth science teachers across Alabama. The program's goal is to foster an innovative culture for teachers and to equip and empower them to expect more.

Pughsley earned a B.A. in elementary education and a M.Ed. from Samford University. He is a certified elementary school teacher.  See the official HCS Index newsletter from October 15, 2019.


PAEMST awards were established in 1983.  They recognize 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 4,800 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

Awardees reflect the expertise and dedication of the Nation's teaching corps, and they demonstrate the positive impact of excellent teachers on student achievement. Awardees come from schools in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, and schools in the United States territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation.