David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy teacher to receive presidential award _lowres

Advocate file photo by BRYAN TUCK. -- David Thibodaux STEM Academy teacher Lerri Cockrell works with her students during class in 2012 after being named the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics’ middle school math teacher of the year. Cockrell's recent honor is the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She'll travel to Washington, D.C., to receive the award later this summer.

David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy teacher Lerri Cockrell will travel to Washington, D.C., later this summer to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

An educator for 27 years, Cockrell has taught at Thibodaux since 2011.

Cockrell is among 108 teachers selected this year for the award, which is one of the highest honors given to math and science teachers in the country. The awards are given out annually, with the honorees selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators after a selection process conducted at the state level, according to a White House news release.

As part of the recognition, Cockrell also will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

“These teachers are shaping America’s success through their passion for math and science,” President Barack Obama said in the news release. “Their leadership and commitment empower our children to think critically and creatively about science, technology, engineering and math. The work these teachers are doing in our classrooms today will help ensure that America stays on the cutting edge tomorrow.”

In 2012, Cockrell was named the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics’ Middle School Math Teacher of the Year. In 2013, she was selected as one of 14 teachers from Lafayette, Vermilion and Iberia parishes to participate in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Louisiana Mathematics Masters in the Middle program designed to provide professional development for math teachers and foster interest in math among middle school students.

Through the program, teachers received certification as a math specialist and also taught intensive math summer camps. The camps started in 2014, continued last month and are planned again next summer.