Three University of Central Florida alumni are among Florida’s six nominees for a national award recognizing exemplary math and science teachers.

Leslie Kraynik, Amber Thibedeau and Barbara Wilcox, all teachers in Brevard County, are nominees for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The program was established in 1963 by the White House and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Of the six finalists from Florida, one from math and one from science will be chosen to represent the state at the national level. The national winners will receive a signed note from the president; a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition ceremonies; and $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Kraynik, a math coach at Westside Elementary in Palm Bay, holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UCF. She has worked as a teacher in Brevard County for 25 years and was selected by the county in 2009 as Exemplary Mathematics Teacher of the Year.

Thibedeau holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s in Reading Education from UCF. A fifth-grade science teacher at Sunrise Elementary in Palm Bay, Thibedeau, received Brevard’s Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award in 2008.

Wilcox earned her bachelor’s and masters degrees in Education from UCF and is a National Board Certified teacher who teaches science at Endeavour Elementary in Cocoa. In 2012 she won the Florida Agriculture in the Classroom award and has placed first for five years in the Florida School Garden contest.

To learn more about the awards, go to