Seven of Indiana's best teachers selected as Armstrong Teacher Educators
The Indiana University School of Education has announced seven Indiana public school teachers as the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educators for the 2012-13 school year. These select teachers participate in professional development opportunities and work with IU faculty and students studying to be teachers over the next year.
A committee of IU faculty, students and former recipients chooses the Armstrong teachers. The IU School of Education honored the seven during its annual Celebration of Teaching ceremony April 20.
"The Armstrong Teacher Educator program is fortunate to have seven of the very best teachers in Indiana this year," said Pete Kloosterman, Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education. "IU students have always learned a great deal from Armstrong Teacher Educators, and there is no doubt that the new group will be able to pick up where this year's cohort left off."
Since 1997, superintendents and principals from around Indiana have nominated teachers for the Armstrong Teacher Educator award based on patterns of outstanding teaching and school leadership. The nominees must also demonstrate a potential to work effectively as mentors and role models for pre-service teachers.
The awards are made possible through the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Fund in Teacher Education, which also supports the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education. Since the program started, more than 140 Indiana teachers have earned selection as Armstrong Teacher Educators. The select group has included many teachers recognized as outstanding in the field, including 2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year Stacy McCormack, who was selected as an Armstrong Teacher Educator just before earning the statewide honor.
"I congratulate this year's class of Armstrong Teachers," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the School of Education. "They are among Indiana's most effective teachers, and their selection will not only bring well-deserved recognition to their achievements, it will also put them in close contact with future generations of young teachers who will be inspired by and learn from their success."
The Armstrong Teacher Educators for 2012-13 are:
- Laurie Bandos, higher ability teacher for Grades 3 and 4 at Pine Tree Elementary School, Avon: A 2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year top 10 finalist, Bandos has been a teacher for eight years. Her principal addressed why she recommended such a young teacher for the award: "She is THAT good" she wrote. Bandos drives instruction by challenging her students, reaching parents and examining student data to determine how she can best help each student achieve. She has earned several grants to start literacy initiatives, support the teaching of history, and enhance math teaching and learning.
- Jill Glover, second-grade teacher at Columbus Signature Academy's Lincoln Campus, Columbus: Part of a core of teachers to open the new campus for the project-based learning school, Glover has shown a desire to find innovative teaching techniques and share those with colleagues. She has led students in learning projects that have included establishing a booth to sell their own goods at the local farmers market; developing and managing a 5K run/walk to fight childhood obesity; and contributing to the creation of a new park to take the place of condemned homes after the floods in Columbus in 2008. She's trained to implement engineering concepts into a fourth-grade curriculum as well as mentor other teachers in project-based learning techniques.
- Lisa Jaynes, literacy coach at Stephen Decatur Elementary School, Indianapolis: A semifinalist for the 2012 Indiana Teacher of the year, Jaynes earned the honor as the 2012 Decatur Township Teacher of the Year and Stephen Decatur Teacher of the Year in 2009 and 2011. Jaynes coaches 21 teachers at four grade levels across two schools in literacy instruction best practices. The teachers she works with credit her with helping establish a solid framework for teaching literacy to their students. Her principal says Jaynes has the ability to teach students a variety of lessons that challenge them to do their best and foster each individual student's learning.
- James Pearce, English teacher for ninth grade at Noblesville High School Freshman Campus: While teaching the standard school subject of English, Pearce has become known for bringing in some nonstandard tools to help students learn. A leader on the 21st Century Learning Committee in Noblesville schools, Pearce is a certified Google applications trainer, and his use of technology in the classroom earned him a Golden Apple teaching award. One of his colleagues says he uses the technology well to reach students and allow them to find their own creativity. Pearce is also known for using data to guide instruction for each student.
- Cynthia L. Schuler, fourth-grade REACH teacher at New Britton Elementary School, Fishers: Schuler teaches a fourth-grade all-inclusive high-ability class that is studying an advanced curriculum. Her students have consistently shown an increase in performance measures, including a 100 percent rate of students earning a "Pass " on the math ISTEP exam, the highest score possible on the state's standardized performance test in 2009-10. She's well known for using creative props to make her point to students, often beginning a semester with a message in a bottle delivered to students, hoping they'll become eager to find what they'll learn. Her colleagues praise her energy for working with gifted students. A mentor calls her enthusiasm contagious and added that she is unafraid to push students to understand material and see a broader view.
- Pamela J. Schumm, Biology I and honors biology teacher at Wawasee High School, Syracuse: A recipient of 13 academic honors or special teacher awards in her school corporation, Schumm is unafraid to try unique ideas to drive home biology concepts. She often employs songs as well as group work, projects, demonstrations, technology and field trips to help students learn. "Several times a trimester you can hear my students singing a 'biology song,'" she said. "I still have former students tell me they remember some of the songs we sang." Schumm said she challenges her students but provides very real environments to study biology, such as taking students onto Lake Wawasee to study a watershed, examining owl pellets to discern the bird's diet, and conducting forensics studies on hair and fiber samples.
- Ann Smith, eighth-grade English and language arts teacher at Martinsville West Middle School: A teacher Martinsville Superintendent Ron Furniss calls one of the finest he's witnessed in 40 years, Smith taught for many years in New Jersey before coming to Indiana in 2007. In New Jersey, she was a nominee for the New Jersey Governor's Teacher of the Year honor and an honored teacher by the New Jersey Business and Education Partnership. Smith created and facilitates the West Middle School After School Homework Help program, which has had as many as 100 participants in the four-day-a-week sessions. Students have credited the program with helping improve their performance. She initiated and piloted a new vocabulary curriculum for both Martinsville middle schools. Her principal says Smith "thrives as a school instructional leader" and has earned a respected status among her peers as a loyal team player.
The Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Fund in Teacher Education was established through a gift from the Cook Group Cos. of Bloomington. In 1996, Bill and Gayle Cook designated a $1 million gift to honor longtime IU Foundation President Bill Armstrong and his wife, Martha Lea. The Armstrongs asked that the gift support Indiana's teachers and worked with the Cooks and the School of Education to develop the program. In memory of Bill Cook, who died on April 15, 2011, the Cook family designated memorial donations be directed to the Armstrong Fund.