Brandi Leggett, a teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District, was one of 213 math and science instructors honored this month with the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
The honorees — representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories and Department of Defense-run schools — received their awards at a ceremony Thursday in Washington, D.C. The winners, including a second teacher from Kansas, were chosen by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.
In addition to the trip to Washington, each honoree received a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at his or her discretion.
Leggett, who graduated from Olathe North High School, is an instructional coach at Rosehill Elementary School in Lenexa. Before that, she taught third grade for six years at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee and fifth grade for three years at Fox Chase Elementary School in Philadelphia.
The other Kansas teacher honored was Michelle Kelly, a math teacher at Basehor Elementary School.
“The Presidential Award is incredible and extremely humbling,” Leggett said. “It represents all the individuals who have guided me throughout my teaching career. It credits those who taught me to always keep students first, leading them to discoveries through their curiosity, and challenging them to always think and take ownership of their learning. It validates that it is OK to relinquish control to the students. Innovative science is an act of doing, rather than sitting and learning.”
Leggett is on Rosehill Elementary's leadership team and serves on the Shawnee Mission School District Science Curriculum Development Team. In 2015, her third-graders were named the national winners in the DuPont Science Competition for their project on natural disasters.
Leggett received her bachelor of science degree from Temple University and a master’s degree in elementary education from Arcadia University.