Colleen Windell, a Washington Middle School 7th grade teacher, is one of two state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Washington Middle School Principal Craig Henkel describes Windell as the definition of what 21st century teaching is all about: she is hands on and is able to build great relationships with kids.

"She is part of a select group which is called the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science," Henkel said. "With Colleen, she is one of two candidates that has been nominated across the state of Montana in the area of science. This particular award is considered one of the highest honors bestowed by the federal government upon K-12 teachers."

Public Information Officer Hatton Littman with Missoula County Public Schools said it’s an important thing when teachers in the district get nominated for such a prestigious award.

"The other thing we think is really neat is MCPS is making such a commitment to STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics content in all of our schools: K-12," Littman said. "When we have one of our teachers recognized for excellence in math and science teaching, we really think that's a great demonstration of how excellent our teachers are and the quality of teaching they are bringing to our students in the classroom."

Littman said Windell will be recognized at a dinner in Bozeman tomorrow night with Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean speaking on behalf of the teachers’ excellence.