School of Education honors top teachers in “Celebration of Teaching” ceremony

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Indiana University School of Education honored top faculty and instructors during the annual “Celebration of Teaching” ceremony at the Wright Education Building in Bloomington on Friday, April 20. The school also introduced the 2012-13 cohort of Armstrong Teacher Educators at the event.

A committee of IU faculty and former recipients chose 7 Indiana public school teachers as the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educators. Over the next year, the teachers will participate in professional development opportunities and work with IU faculty and students studying to be teachers.

The top annual faculty award went to Annela Teemant, associate professor in second language education at the IU School of Education at IUPUI.  A member of the faculty since 2007, Teemant has been a major force in driving innovative teaching practices for ESL teachers as well as teacher preparation at the IU School of Education. Every year the IU School of Education presents the Gorman Teaching Award to honor the best and most creative professors. It is named for Burton Gorman, who earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from IU in the 1930’s. Throughout a 57-year educational career he sought new and innovative ways to enhance teaching. In the early 1980’s, he established this award to honor creative teaching that incorporates risk-taking in its methods, but succeeds.

Teemant successfully earned a $1.5 million federal grant in 2007 to partner with Indianapolis Public Schools to help ESL teachers learn more one-on-one teaching techniques and student-driven instruction. The success of the first grant led directly to a second, $1.7 million five-year grant starting in 2012 to expand the project to other schools and more teachers. “It’s hard to overstate how much these teachers say the work has helped them and their students,” said IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez.  “Most testify that the work has been transformational.” Gonzalez cited a teacher who took part in the project who said Teemant’s work had “totally changed the way I teach” and added “it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Her work starts with the student in mind, Teemant said. She said she noted early on when she was working with teachers that the teaching wasn’t adjusted for the students in the class. “They weren’t making the starting point for the students the students’ lives,” she said during her remarks after receiving the Gorman award. Teemant said the work of teaching with a critical perspective is very difficult for teachers. But she said learning to do so makes the largest difference for student performance.

Colleagues at the School of Education also praised Teemant in nominating her for the prestigious award. One wrote that “she made me a better me.”

The keynote address for the Celebration of Teaching came from Stacy McCormack, the 2011 Indiana State Teacher of the Year, a past Armstrong Teacher Educator, and currently the Armstrong Teacher in Residence, a role offered to recipients of the State Teacher of the Year honor. McCormack said she first declared she’d be science teacher at age 7, but noted that people have tried to talk her out of it ever since. She encouraged all the educators present to stick to their calling. “Do what you want to do and what you are called to do,” McCormack said, “and don’t let them convince you otherwise.”

Pete Kloosterman, Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education, introduced the latest group of Armstrong Teacher Educators, representing some of the best teachers from across the state. A formal news release announcing the selected teachers will be coming from Indiana University next week.

Here is the full list of award recipients honored during the Celebration of Teaching:

Gorman Award

Annela Teemant, second language education

Armstrong Teacher Educator Awards

  • Laurie Bandos, Pine Tree Elementary School, Avon
  • Jill Glover, Columbus Signature Academy—Lincoln Campus, Columbus
  • Lisa Jaynes, Stephen Decatur Elementary School, Indianapolis
  • James Pearce, Noblesville High School—Freshman Campus
  • Cynthia L. Schuler, New Britton Elementary School, Fishers
  • Pamela J. Schumm, Wawasee High School, Syracuse
  • Ann Smith, Martinsville West High School, Martinsville

Outstanding Associate Instructor Awards

  • Anthony DeCesare, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, H205:  Introduction to Educational Thought
  • Peiwei Li, Counseling & Educational Psychology, Y420: Approaches and Issues in Educational Research; Y520:  Strategies for Educational Inquiry
  • Cara Maffini, Counseling & Educational Psychology, G203:  Communication in the Classroom
  • Adam Rappaport, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, H205:  Introduction to Educational Thought
  • Lisa Wood, Curriculum & Instruction, E325:  Social Studies in Elementary Schools; E349:  Early Childhood Multi-Literacies; E352:  Early Childhood Integrated Methods

Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award

Alli Suzanne Fetter-Harrott, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Trustees Faculty Teaching Awards

  • Gretchen Butera, Curriculum & Instruction
  • Serafin Coronel-Molina, Literacy, Culture, & Language Education
  • Suzanne Eckes, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
  • Melissa Keller, Curriculum & Instruction
  • Heidi Ross, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
  • Jesse Steinfeldt, Counseling & Educational Psychology

Student Choice Award

Dionne Cross, Curriculum & Instruction, E343:  Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School

Graduate Studies Faculty Mentor Award

Theodore Frick, Instructional Systems Technology