Bedford teacher earns 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

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2020 Presidental Award for Excellence awardee Tristan Bowen, a teacher at Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford.

CONCORD, NH  — Tristan Bowen, a teacher at Riddle Brook School in Bedford, has won the 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) for New Hampshire.

The national cohort of awardees was announced Feb. 8.

This award represents the nation’s highest distinction for teaching in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science. Bowen, a teacher for 22 years, is one of 102 teachers nationwide to receive this prestigious honor, and is the only K-6 science winner for New Hampshire.

“I commend Tristan’s devotion to teaching, science and educational leadership. Her work ethic, specifically her drive for writing student-driven science curriculum, exemplifies the values that shape strong educators and innovative youth,” said Frank Edelblut, commissioner of education.

Bowen currently teaches fourth-grade at Riddle Brook School, was recently chosen for a Bedford Education Foundation grant to attend a gifted and talented institute at the University of Connecticut, is a Professional Learning Community Facilitator and is part of the school’s enrichment committee.

“The Presidential Award is an honor that conveys all the hard work I have put into teaching, and I am grateful for the recognition of my efforts as an educator. This award will also allow me to share my ideas and passion, especially in science, with more educators,” Bowen said in a statement.

Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in professional development opportunities and discussions on how to improve STEM education.

See all 2020 awardees by state here.

“What sets Tristan apart is her forward-thinking and student engagement abilities, especially in the area of STEM education. She encourages creativity, critical thinking and problem solving through interest-based learning for her students,” said Principal Molly McCarthy of Riddle Brook School and Superintendent Mike Fournier of the Bedford School District. “ … There is no doubt that Tristan is a well-deserving recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.”


According to the biography published on the PAEMST website, for the past 15 years Bowen has taught a self-contained fourth-grade class at Riddle Brook School. She previously taught for five years at Russell Street Elementary School and started her career at Nantucket Middle School for two years. She was chosen for a Bedford Education Foundation Grant so she could attend a Gifted and Talented institute at the University of Connecticut.

She is a Professional Learning Community Facilitator for her fourth-grade team and is part of the Enrichment Committee at RBS which instituted Full STEAM Ahead Day at her school. She served on the executive board for the Bedford Education Association for eight years. Bowen has a passion for writing student-driven science curriculum and is trained in NGSX (Next Generation Science Exemplar) science curriculum implementation; mentors teachers to implement NGSX principles; and aligns and writes Bedford’s science curriculum with NGSX and NGSS standards. Bowen has her students connect with scientists both in the community and worldwide.

Bowen has written Wisdom Work Curriculum and has taught it at Southeastern Regional Education Service Center. She presented Wisdom Work at the Christa McAuliffe conference for New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education and at Bedford’s Future Ready Conference and is a member of New Hampshire Science Teachers Association and NSTA.

She has a working relationship with University of New Hampshire at Manchester, is a trained STEM docent, and has written a Citizen Science integration curriculum. Tristan has a B.A. in elementary education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an M.Ed. from Boston College. She is certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade and Moderate Special Needs, kindergarten through ninth grade.


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