Lowell Milken Center To Welcome Fellowship Recipients June 16

The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to six teachers, who will arrive on June 16.

Following is information about each teacher.


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 Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

Beth Alexander has taught for 15 years at The Linden School in Toronto, Ontario, a school dedicated to using a social justice and anti-oppressive framework to raise the voices of girls everywhere. Beth is currently Curriculum Leader and runs the CERES Lab for coding, engineering, robotics, electronics, and science. Beth teaches her students, in Junior Kindergarten through grade nine, the power of their own potential as they find meaningful real-world connections to technology. Her students learn by doing, through projects that help them use their skills to solve problems they see in the world around them. Beth is known for her high-energy lessons and ability to encourage students who have had difficulty with STEM classes in the past.

In 2016, Beth received a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence from Justin Trudeau for her commitment to bringing STEM subjects to light through meaningful student projects, social justice teaching, and a commitment to citizen science. She organizes an annual conference, “Teaching for Justice,” which is a gathering place for educators wanting to move beyond the curriculum and make the world a more equitable place. Outside of school, she is busy coaching, writing curriculum, championing student initiatives, and running clubs like the Makerspace. She has also developed community programs for at-risk youth and volunteered on a crisis line.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, “By helping young girls to see their own potential, Beth encourages them to realize their dreams and make a difference in the world around them. Her energy, passion and enthusiasm are the very traits that make her an outstanding Fellow.”

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.

 

LMC has awarded another prestigious Fellowship to history teacher, Valerie Baalerud, of Eagle River High School in Eagle River, AK. Valerie will arrive in Fort Scott on June 16th for a week of collaboration with LMC staff.

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 Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

Valerie Baalerud is a 2017 Alaska Milken Educator. She teaches social studies at Eagle River High School (ERHS,) where she believes in a hands-on approach to learning. She is known for creative, real world lesson planning and engaging interactive lectures. She believes that all students have the ability to succeed and works to help them define what that means to them.

Valerie is the social studies department chair, a member of the Alaska Department of Education’s Teacher Advisory Board, and a teacher representative on Eagle River’s PTSO. Following a 7.1 earthquake last November that left her school and community with heavy damage, Valerie worked with her husband and the PTSO to secure grant funding from ConocoPhillips to provide emergency backpacks for every classroom at ERHS. Valerie is also the head coach of the ERHS Drama, Debate, and Forensics team, has coached flag football and track, served as class advisor, and even performed in the yearly talent show as lead vocalist for the teacher band, “Super Senior.”

Currently, Valerie is pursuing a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, hoping to use her experience to further positively impact the lives of her students. Most recently she was honored to be asked to give the commencement address for the 2019 graduating class of ERHS, of which her daughter is the student body president.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, “Valerie sets a high standard for creativity, innovation, and the use of real-world connections in the classroom. Her leadership as a motivational educator truly distinguishes our Fellowship.”

Jordan DeWilde is the 2018 Elementary Illinois Art Educator of the Year. He is known for creating inclusive art curriculum of diverse populations. Jordan tells his students, “Great art has been created by men and women of different races, cultures, and communities throughout history.” His mission is to teach students that art is for everyone. Jordan provides a wide array of learning experiences that allow students to explore numerous cultures, develop their artistic skills and abilities, and build their confidence as valuable members of the community. He has created a learning environment in which all students are valued and where they have freedom to express their thoughts and ideas through their artwork.

In addition to teaching, Jordan is a writer and facilitator for The Art of Education University. He has developed content on topics such as celebrating diversity, cross curricular connections, and more. He truly does have a passion for visual art, and more importantly, student learning. His passions show in the lessons he designs and in his interactions with students. He has a solid knowledge base and a strong artistic talent. He has used these in presenting at the local, regional, and state levels. He shares his curriculum ideas and teaching philosophy on social media, @MrDeWildeArt, with art educators from all over the world.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, “Jordan’s innovative and inclusive implementation of art curriculum with a diverse population of student artists set him apart as a positive role model for both students and other educators. He will be a truly inspirational member of our Fellowship.”

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Mary Huffman, of Carolina Park Elementary in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Mary Huffman is the 2015 Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History National History Teacher of the Year. A few of her additional awards include the 2017 South Carolina Council for the Social Studies Best Practices in Social Studies Award, the 2016 Western Illinois University Alumni Achievement Award, and the 2016 Western Illinois University College of Education and Human Services Distinguished Alumni Award. Key components to Mary’s teaching are curriculum integration, hands-on simulations, differentiated instruction, community service, and authentic learning opportunities. Community service activities for her fifth graders include Adopt-A-Campus, the Charleston, SC Yom HaShoah Remembrance Program, and monthly Treats 4 Troops baking for active troops. Students have had authentic learning experiences through sleeping and studying on a WWII aircraft carrier, participating in a 5-day WWII draft simulation, collaborating during a 3-week Holocaust simulation unit with two local Holocaust survivors, and dressing up while practicing non-violent protesting methods from the 1960s (sit-ins, debates, speeches, protests, and propaganda writing).

Ryan James, of Lucille M. Brown Middle School in Richmond, VA. Ryan will arrive in Fort Scott on June 16th for a week of collaboration with LMC staff.

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 Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

Ryan James is the 2017 Milken Educator from Virginia. As a civics/economics teacher, one of Ryan’s main goals is to make sure his students are aware of their rights and their role in the political process. Ryan typically teaches in the co-taught setting, working with students with disabilities. He encourages his students to work hard and to view their obstacles as challenges to overcome instead of problems they do not want to face. He works to keep students engaged in the classroom by incorporating music, as well as social media trends and challenges, in his lessons. 

 Ryan’s influence is felt throughout the school as he has held several leadership positions during his eight years at Lucille Brown. He has served as the 7th grade team leader and has been a part of the School Planning Management Team. In addition to this he has served as the coach of the boys’ basketball and flag football teams for the last five seasons. Ryan takes an active role in preparing students for their future by helping them research colleges and other career opportunities. Ryan was able to organize several field trips to tour his alma mater, James Madison University, in an effort to expose students to college and higher education.  

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, “Ryan motivates his students to be responsible, caring, and engaged citizens, not only in the classroom, but also within their communities. We welcome him as an exemplary Fellow and role model for other educators.”

Silvia Miranda, of Mesa Elementary in Clovis, NM. Silvia Miranda will arrive in Fort Scott on June 16th for a week of collaboration with LMC staff.

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 Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

Silvia Miranda is the 2018 New Mexico Milken Educator. She has taught for 11 years and is currently a 4th grade teacher at Mesa Elementary. Silvia has high standards for success for herself and her students, employing Whole Brain strategies, a growth mindset philosophy, interest-based learning, and data-driven instruction in her classroom. As an example, when Silvia and her fourth-grade team realized data showed writing was an area in which students were struggling, she developed a plan based on assessment results. Using the identified deficiencies, Ms. Miranda designed lessons to address those areas, and writing has improved across the fourth grade at Mesa. Consequently, her students consistently outperform school, district and state averages on assessments in reading, writing and math. It is the success of her students, the effort they put into learning, and their joy in doing so that fuel her love of teaching!

Miranda is dedicated to learning about her craft through webinars, cohort meetings, state conferences and extensive reading and research, always sharing relevant findings with her colleagues in Clovis Municipal Schools. Welcoming educational leadership positions, she served as a CMS Teacher Leader for 2018-19, providing professional development, leading data review and analysis, and observing and mentoring peers. She has also been a state ambassador to the New Mexico Teacher Leader Network for two years and now serves on the Secretary’s Teacher Advisory (STA).

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, “As a life-long learner seeking to improve her teaching craft, Silvia is an inspiring colleague and an excellent addition to our team of Fellows. Using the best teaching practices available, she has helped her students to both succeed and love learning!”

 

 

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