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Alumnus is presidential award finalist

Kent Page is an outside-the-box educator, a science academic support teacher who provides hands-on learning for students outside the classroom – at creeks, parks, ponds and river banks.

At Carnahan Elementary School, Page (MEd ‘08) is known for turning low-performing students with little or no interest in science into high-achieving learners. During one outing, known as the “EcoFriends Acorn Project,” Page showed students how to plant native trees and improve the environment. From the plantings, students learned about restoring habitats, conserving water and soil and improving air quality.

For his efforts, Page has been named a state finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program. The State Board of Education will recognize him and all finalists during a ceremony in Austin on Feb. 1.

“My reaction to the PAEMST award is that it makes me want to grab my nearest colleagues and students and link arms with them because we all work as a team,” Page says. “We are all pulling the same direction and any praise belongs to us all.

“On a personal note, I admit being very excited about contacts and shared ideas with other teachers across the state selected as finalists. It is very humbling to stand among teachers with such a high degree of energy, creativity, and success.”

A Panhandle native, Page came to San Antonio more than a quarter century ago and taught music in his own studio. He joined the Northside Independent School District (NISD) in 2000 as a teacher of emotionally disturbed students at Northside Children’s Center. He has twice been named Northside Educator of the Year and was a finalist for the PAEMST award in 2010. The winner of this year’s award is expected to be named in June.

Page began teaching at Carnahan Elementary in 2008 -- the same year he received his master’s from Our Lady of the Lake University.

“OLLU has been absolutely pivotal in my life,” says Page, who has three master’s degrees, two of them from other universities. “On my list of exceptional teachers, those from OLLU displaced all others. I feel recognition such as the PAEMST award can be directly traced to the trajectory of my life set during my studies at OLLU. I will be forever grateful for my time spent there.”

In particular, Page credits the influence of Peggy Carnahan, director of OLLU’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education.

“There seems to be a bit of poetry in my opportunity to work at a school whose namesake is the head of the OLLU Center for Science and Math Education where I studied,” Page says. “Peggy's unique combination of skills from assembling teams without any weak links, to inspiring the teachers who are students in her master’s program to work harder than they ever knew they could, to ‘Pegging’ her protégées by matching our skills with responsibilities we didn't recognize could be such a perfect fit -- are all are true. Peggy is justly legendary for those abilities.”

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