Cedar Rapids Educator Awarded Presidential Award

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Cedar Rapids teacher and mentor Maria “Gabby” Granadillo is in Washington, D.C. to be awarded a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).


Granadillo has been an Induction Coach with the Grant Wood Area Education Agency Induction Consortium program since fall 2018. From 2010 - 2018, she taught eighth-grade mathematics at McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching.

Granadillo worked almost 20 years in the engineering field as a project engineer before entering the teaching profession. “I loved the classroom and working with students, and really focused on helping them actively learn from both their successes and their mistakes,” she commented.

Granadillo said she felt a “duty beyond teaching mathematics” and joined Grant Wood Area Education Agency as an induction coach last fall. In her role, Granadillo supports the growth and development of first- and second-year teachers, 6th - 12th grade within the seven-county Grant Wood Area Education Agency consortium school districts in Iowa. She’s part of a larger consortium that supports PK-12 teachers in the AEA’s seven-county service area.

“Our AEA is focused on improving learning outcomes for every student, and that work starts by helping teachers provide quality instruction” explained Grant Wood AEA Chief Administrator John Speer. Granadillo​ is one of the AEA’s induction coaches or individuals who are released from their classroom duties to serve as full-time coaches and mentors to other classroom teachers. Granadillo is one of 19 coaches who serve in this capacity through Grant Wood AEA. Together, the Granadillo and the Grant Wood AEA consortium supports 16 districts and 225 new teachers, impacting more than 12,000 students 

Granadillo was one of two 2017 PAEMST mathematics finalists for the state of Iowa, and her application was forwarded to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for national review.


The PAEMST program, administered by NSF on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding teachers for their contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics and science. PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten-through-12th-grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Since 1983, more than 5,000 teachers nationwide have been recognized for this honor.

The awards are managed by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. According to the National Science Foundation, the award alternates between honoring kindergarten-sixth grade teachers and seventh-12th-grade teachers each year. The program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1983, allowing the president to recognize up to 108 exemplary math and science teachers each year. This year’s finalists were selected from kindergarten through sixth-grade math and science teachers who were nominated for high-quality teaching.

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