Presidential Awards for Excellence

Press Release:

Sam Rockford, a math teacher at St. James Academy in Lenexa, Kansas, was named one of three finalists from the state of Kansas for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. According to their website, “The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education” (

Rockford recently finished his ninth year teaching at St. James and had previously taught at North Kansas City High School for nine years and Shawnee Mission Northwest for one. When asked about the award, he said, “I am humbled to be selected…I would like to thank the wonderful people who helped me throughout the application process. It was long and time-consuming involving a deep self-reflection of my beliefs of teaching. But as I wrote, it became less about mathematics and instructional methods, and more about my love of working with teenagers. I count my blessing every day to work at St. James with incredible kids and the greatest high school staff in the world.”

Andy Tylicki, president of St. James, said of Rockford, “There’s no doubt that Sam is an extraordinary teacher in the classroom, but his commitment to the mission of our school is what is most inspiring about him. He is a man of great faith, he stays focused on his family, and he is always striving to give his very best to his students on a daily basis. He has deeply impacted so many lives within our community, kids and adults alike.”

Sam is married to his wife Melissa and is a father to his eight-year-old daughter Maggie and four-year-old twins Sammy and Joe Mike. In addition to his teaching position, he has served as department chair at St. James and moderator of several clubs.

See the press release from KSDE here.