2021 Lowell Milken Center Fellows Receive Keys to the City
The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas has awarded its 2021 Fellowship to 14 educators. As part of their week-long experience in Fort Scott, the six fellows for June 27 – July 2 were given the key to the city by Fort Scott City Manager, Jeremy Frazier, along with Community Development Manager, Allyson Turvey, and Director of Economic Development, Rachel Pruitt. (Eight other Fellows were in Fort Scott last week.)
Upon the presentation of the keys, City Manager Jeremy Frazier said, “The City of Fort Scott is honored to present keys to the city to the 2021 Lowell Milken Center Fellows. It is inspiring that these top educators have come to Fort Scott to cultivate their passion for education and will return to their communities to continue the work of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes. People matter and the recognition of the many amazing contributions of unsung heroes is an important undertaking that is often underserved. Through the sharing of these inspiring unsung heroes’ stories, the world will be a better place.”
The LMC Fellowship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning or who have the potential for this distinction. The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and around the world, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.
John-David Bowman taught for 14 years at the high school level and also spent 3 years teaching at Arizona State University. His favorite courses include IB Political Theory, IB Theory of Knowledge, and AP US History. Bowman has a BA in History and a BA in Political Science from ASU, and a MA in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History from NAU.
Bowman believes that there are tremendous things going on in Arizona schools and feels there a need to celebrate those accomplishments, while continually striving to find ways to improve whenever possible. He focuses on student relationships as the foundation of his teaching philosophy. Bowman was Arizona’s 2015 Teacher of the Year and the 2017 Arizona History Teacher of the Year. He is from Glendale, Arizona.
Jennifer Braverman, Maple Shade, New Jersey, is an artivist who combines education and visual art and actively engages her audience in contemporary issues. Braverman’s art has been featured in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally. She is an author and illustrator for two educational coloring books and currently is teaching AP Studio Art, Digital Mixed Media, and many other courses to grades 7-12 at Maple Shade High School.
Braverman has been an adjunct in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies department at The College of New Jersey since 2013, teaching Gender, Pop Culture, and LGBTQ Issues in K-12 Education. She has supervised over 50 independent projects in which students focus on social justice and education. Braverman was named the 2013 Burlington County Outstanding Woman of the Year in the Arts and recognized as a member of the 2014 Inaugural Class of 40 under 40 for community leadership. She was also the 2016 Burlington County Teacher of the Year, the 2017 Moorestown-Masonic Lodge Teacher of the Year, and is a Certified Welcoming Schools National Facilitator for the Human Rights Campaign. She is passionate about teaching and making the classroom a place for all students to thrive. To learn more about Jennifer Braverman please visit www.jenniferbraverman.co
2020 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, Megan McNeil Helberg, proudly lives in rural Taylor, Nebraska, where she taught English to 8th, 11th, and 12th-grade students at Burwell Public School. This coming school year, she will be returning to teach 7-12th grade English at her alma mater, Loup County Public School in Taylor, NE. After growing up on a ranch in this area of the Sandhills, with only ten people in her graduating class, Megan feels strongly about exposing her students to various cultures and ways of life.
Sharing Holocaust and genocide education is an important passion for Helberg. In 2013, upon receiving a Fund for Teachers fellowship, Megan used the opportunity to visit Holocaust-related sites throughout Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. She also used the grant money to purchase class sets of Holocaust literature resources for her school. She was named a Museum Teacher Fellow for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in 2016 and has spent extensive time at the USHMM, learning from world-renowned historians, authors, and survivors. Helberg saw a lack of exposure in her small town, so she founded a travel club for the school and community members to travel together and bridge the gap between school and community. She has spent time in Rwanda, Africa, studying the 1994 genocide and in the Amazon Rain Forest, living with an indigenous tribe. She brings her stories and the experiences from her travels back to her classroom in the heart of Nebraska. The main mantra in Helberg’s classroom is, “Look for the good: in others, in your community, and in yourself. If you do not see any good, CREATE it.”
Konstantinos Kovoros has taught for 20 years in Jericho, New York school district, a district that is consistently ranked as one of the best in the United States. He currently teaches middle school American history. Kovoros is a passionate educator who strives to bring history to life and help his students understand how history has shaped their world. He utilizes field trips, guest speakers, and project-based learning to engage students and allow them to delve deeper into the curriculum. His students compete in numerous history competitions, many receiving special awards and ranking nationally.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Konstantinos serves as Student Council co-advisor, as well as co-advisor of Project L.E.A.D – a club that seeks to form a coalition of students who work together to bring awareness, encourage empathy, and build an understanding of the varied challenges students face across Long Island today. Students are provided opportunities to collaborate with peers in partner schools to build connections, as well as explore challenges and opportunities to become LEADers in their respective communities.
Lauren Sepulveda has taught for 10 years at Clinton Avenue School in New Haven, Connecticut. She is the 7th and 8th-grade Team Leader, a TEAM mentor, Student Council Facilitator, and has served as a Curriculum Writer for her district. She has also participated on several leadership and equity committees at the school, district, and regional levels. She is passionate about teaching social studies in a way that brings representation, equitable opportunities, and empowerment to her students. Sepulveda teaches her 7th and 8th-grade students to utilize their voices and participate in their community. Her students learn by doing, through authentic projects, guest speakers, and exciting field trips.
In 2018, Sepulveda received her district’s T.A.P.S. Award and was New Haven Public Schools’ Teacher of The Year for the 2018-19 school year. In 2019, she received the Milken Educator Award. She has used these honors to build relationships with community partners for her students and school and build a platform for open dialogue around equity. She has organized school-wide events with support from community partners and takes her students on a leadership retreat to Vermont each year where they work on personal growth, reflection, and team building activities.
Leslie Sullivan has taught for 10 years at Palmetto Scholars Academy in North Charleston, SC, a public charter school that provides gifted and talented instruction through a rigorous and innovative curriculum. She and her team in the Social Science department have worked collaboratively to develop a curriculum that encourages students to make deep connections to history and the world around them, while inspiring them to find their own voices in their community. She often includes guest speakers in her government classes to give a variety of perspectives and couples those experiences with debate, simulations, and project-based learning. Additionally, Sullivan encourages leadership and deep research as an advisor for High School House Council, National History Day, Senior Capstone, and Model UN.
Sullivan was Palmetto Scholars Academy’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. She has used her expertise in gifted and talented education to mentor and train teachers. Working through the South Carolina Consortium for Gifted and NAGC as a presenter, Leslie shared ways to increase engagement and facilitate discussions in the classroom. She was awarded the Milken Educator Award in 2019 and was the state winner of the Outstanding Teacher of American History award through the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2020. Outside of school, Leslie organized and facilitated a Social Justice Summer Book Club for PSA’s students, faculty, and alumni and has enjoyed supporting students by attending sporting events, school competitions, and other events. She is a strong believer in finding ways to grow as an educator, taking advantage of summer teacher training opportunities at Gilder Lehrman Summer Institutes, The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program, and road trips.
While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources, and ongoing support to enhance their classrooms and help students cultivate a passion for learning by creating projects that initiate positive change. Fellows emerge prepared to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students, as they apply and evaluate the stories of role models who have changed the world throughout history.
Every summer, the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes awards its Fellowship to national and international award-winning educators from America and around the world. As LMC Fellows, they deepen their understanding of Unsung Heroes and project-based learning, preparing them to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students and learn the stories of role models who help change the world. Along with the time spent deepening their professional skills at the LMC, the Fellows have enjoyed visiting the Fort Scott area.