NATCHITOCHES – Caddo educator and Northwestern State University alumna Caroline Landon has been selected as a state finalist for a national award given to math and science educators. Landon, who teaches at University Elementary in Shreveport, is one of three Louisiana educators to be selected as finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
This award is the highest of honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teaching. The awards were established by Congress in 1983. The President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.
“It is truly an honor to be considered for this award. I have always loved my students and the opportunity that allows me to help prepare them for their futures,” Landon said.
At NSU, Landon earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education, a master’s degree in educational technology leadership and was a Division 1 soccer player.
“The education I received at Northwestern State laid the foundation for the person I am today,” Landon said. “When I arrived in Natchitoches in 2006 as a 17-year-old freshman from Dallas, I immediately felt at home at NSU. The faculty, students and the residents of Natchitoches were extremely supportive during a crucial time of transition in my life.
Landon said that being a Demon soccer player challenged her athletically on the soccer field and pushed her to perform well academically in the classroom.
“As a student-athlete I had to find a perfect balance between self-discipline and time management off the field as well as teamwork, collaboration, working under pressure and leadership on the field,” she said.
In her 11 years of teaching, Landon has received recognition as a Teacher of the Year, Rookie Teacher of the Year, a mentor teacher and a highly effective educator with training from respected programs like the Ron Clark Academy.
“A huge part of my success is thanks to the dedicated professors and hands-on experiences provided by the College of Education. My student teaching experience with Nikki Murphy and Donna Guillory at NSU Middle Lab School laid the groundwork for me to become the engaging and effective teacher I am today,” Landon said.
Landon’s teaching career began in Natchitoches at St. Mary’s School before she moved to Marthaville Elementary/Middle School to teach sixth-eighth grade math.
“At both schools I was fortunate to build relationships with amazing students and supportive parents and appreciated the encouraging start to a challenging career. After making the difficult decision to leave Natchitoches and move to Shreveport, I continue to teach fifth grade math at University Elementary and strive to make a positive impact on each student who enters my classroom,” Landon said.
The PAEMST program recognizes teachers that 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 5,200 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Awardees reflect the expertise and dedication of the nation’s educators, and they demonstrate the positive impact of excellent teachers on student achievement. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“Northwestern State and the city of Natchitoches will always have a special place in my heart and I will always be grateful for the memories and experiences. Being a Demon soccer player is the reason I came to the school, but the city of Natchitoches is why I stayed,” Landon said.