NEWTOWN — An 8-year veteran educator who teaches technology and computer science at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been nominated for the nation’s highest award in her field.

Kathleen Gombos, the principal of Sandy Hook school, said Mauro was singled out because she “truly understands how important real-world connections and engagement are to students’ learning.”

“Students are free to be innovative and encouraged to teach one another,” Gombos said “Thanks to Ms. Mauro the SHS media center is truly a magical place for students to learn and grow.”

Mauro, who teaches technology and computer science to kindergarten through fourth graders, joins nominees from 50 states and U.S. territories to compete for the presidential award and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Honored with Mauro are Patricia Hahn, a second-grade teacher from Parkville Community School in Hartford, and Christopher Messier, a sixth-grade math and science teacher at Center School in Ellington.

“They epitomize the innovative educators we have here in Connecticut and the importance of our efforts to engage students in STEM fields beginning at a young age,” said Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker in a prepared statement.