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Former Harrison Teacher Receives Presidential Award for Excellence

Mary Beth Hatch

Mary Beth Hatch

AUGUST 5, 2020 — Former Harrison Middle School teacher Mary Beth Hatch recently received the 2019 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.


Hatch was one of only two Arkansas educators to receive the honor, which carries a $10,000 prize, presidential citation and a trip to the nation's capital for an awards ceremony, multiple recognition events and professonal development activities.


The Presidential Awards, issued by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House, are bestowed upon teachers who are committed to professional development, use innovative teaching techniques and utilize technology in their classrooms. Hatch taught environmental and spatial technology at Harrison Middle School until leaving the district prior to the 2019-20 school year.


Educators are first nominated at the state level, and state finalists are reviewed by a national committee of scientists, mathematicians and educators. The committee recommend up to 108 individals for Presidential Awards in math, science and computer science.


The other Arkansas educator honored was Melodie Murray, a math teacher at Pocahontas High School. She won the award for Excellence in Math Teaching.


“Math and science principles are heavily ingrained in today’s jobs, as well as jobs of the future,” Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key said in a statement. “In order to be prepared for the workforce, exceptional teachers in these fields are critical to success. I am happy to congratulate Ms. Hatch and Ms. Murray for receiving these presidential awards. This recognition is among the highest in the STEM field, and these two outstanding educators are well deserving of this honor.”


More informaton about the awards program is available at