Arcadia Alumna Jessica Tilli ’08MEd Honored by White House for Outstanding STEM Teaching

By Daniel DiPrinzio | March 24, 2022
Arcadia University alumna Jessica Tilli ’08M.Ed.

Arcadia University alumna Jessica Tilli ’08M.Ed. has been recognized by the U.S. government with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). She is one of two teachers from Pennsylvania, and one of 102 from the U.S. and its territories, to receive the honor. 

Jessica works as a math curriculum specialist for the Philadelphia School District, where she writes curriculum, provides professional learning for teachers and leaders, and leads the push to prioritize early mathematics. She worked previously at William M. Meredith Elementary School, where she taught middle school mathematics and science for seven years and served as the school-based teacher leader for five years, where she focused on improving mathematics instruction for kindergarten through eighth grade. 

“The Presidential Award honors not only my contribution to mathematics, but that of my incredible colleagues who work tirelessly to ensure equitable experiences for students in our public school system,” Tilli says. “It represents the recognition of the work we do as educators to create access and joy for our students. I am deeply honored to be part of a group of distinguished teachers who care and uplift our students by recognizing their brilliance and empowering them through rich educational opportunities.”

Jessica has volunteered for the past 13 years as a Students Run Philly Style mentor, training alongside students for races including the Philadelphia Marathon. She serves on the boards of Students Run Philly Style and the Urban Affairs Coalition. 

In addition to earning a master’s degree in Education at Arcadia, Jessica earned a B.A. in psychology from Goucher College and was a STEM fellow with the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a doctoral student studying educational leadership at Temple University. She is a certified elementary school teacher and is certified in middle years science, social studies, and mathematics.

“STEM teachers and mentors serve as powerful catalysts for developing the vast potential of our Nation’s learners,” the White House statement said. “PAEMST honors STEM teachers for the commitment they bring to the classroom and for their efforts to meet the learning needs of all their students.”

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers can receive from the U.S. government. Each year, the award alternates between kindergarten through sixth grade and seventh through 12th grade teachers. This year, the award went to kindergarten through sixth grade teachers.