Four educators to be honored as distinguished alumni

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Top left: Harold "Pete" Goldsmith; top right: Naomi B. Searle; bottom left: Susie L. Gronseth; bottom right: William H. Parrett

Four School of Education alumni whose work includes instructional design and technology, research in school improvement, student affairs administration and elementary classroom instruction have been recognized with the Indiana University School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award. This year’s honorees include:

“We are proud of all our alumni for the ways they have changed the world through education,” said Interim Dean Stacy Morrone. “This award is just one way we thank them for their years of service. I look forward to celebrating with these distinguished alumni soon.”

The DAA award was founded in 1977 to recognize alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the School by distinguishing themselves in their careers and have made significant contributions to their community, state and nation through professional service, public service and civic activities. It is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni by the School of Education.

The awards presentation has been postponed until Fall 2021.


Harold "Pete" Goldsmith, Ed.D.

Excellence in Higher Education Award

Dr. Harold “Pete” Goldsmith was a higher education administrator for 42 years. He held a variety of student affairs and general administration positions at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Western Illinois University, Old Dominion University, Michigan State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kent State University and Indiana University Bloomington. At four of these institutions, Goldsmith was the Senior Student Affairs Officer.

Beyond his administrative roles, Goldsmith taught in the masters and doctoral programs in student affairs and higher education at several of these institutions. He also made over 100 presentations at professional meetings and has authored several articles and book chapters.

Active in both the communities as well as the universities he has served, Goldsmith participated in Rotary International for many years and was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honorary, Order of Omega Greek Leadership Honorary, Golden Key National Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Beta Delta Honorary for International Students and Scholars, and an honorary member of Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. In 1977 the Outstanding Resident Assistant Award was named in his honor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. In 2010 Goldsmith received the Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumni Award from IU’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program for exemplifying outstanding service to the student affairs profession. In 2016 he received the IU Provost’s Award for his distinguished service to Indiana University.

He holds two degrees from IU, a B.A. in Government and a Ph.D. in Higher Education. He also holds a Master of Science in Student Personnel Administration from American University.

Goldsmith is also a Vietnam Veteran. He was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate of IU’s Army ROTC Program and commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1968. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

Goldsmith and his wife, Evelyn, live in Bloomington. In retirement they enjoy spending time with their four children and a growing number of grandchildren.

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Susie L. Gronseth, Ph.D.

Early Career Achievement Award

Since completing her Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology at the IU School of Education in 2011, Susie L. Gronseth has become a global leader in the field of instructional design and technology, seeking to enhance equity and access through expanding learning opportunities with online learning technologies and universally designed strategies.

She currently serves as clinical associate professor and program coordinator for the Learning, Design, and Technology Master’s program and undergraduate instructional technology teacher education courses in the Curriculum and Instruction department of the College of Education at the University of Houston. She teaches courses on learning theory, instructional evaluation, educational multimedia, health sciences education and applications of Universal Design for Learning, with particular emphasis on connecting theory to practice and strategically designing for accessibility and inclusivity.

Gronseth is co-PI of an NSF-funded project on student mentorship in biometrics and has published broadly on the development and implementation of instructional technologies, supports for learner engagement and self-regulation, accessible educational materials and assessment design. Her approaches to course design and university teaching have been recognized with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Online Learning Network Award and the University of Houston College of Education Teaching Excellence Award. Her recent book, Universal Access Through Inclusive Instructional Design: International Perspectives on UDL (Routledge, 2020), addresses inclusive instructional foundations, policies, design approaches, technology applications, accessibility challenges, curricular quality issues, research and case studies from around the world.

She serves as Chair of the Community and Government Relations Committee of the University of Houston Faculty Senate, as well as on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. She is the co-chair of the Universal Design for Learning Special Interest Group of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education and has served previously as president of the Inclusive Learning Network for the International Society for Technology in Education.

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William H. Parrett, Ph.D.

Outstanding Alumni Award

William H. Parrett has received international recognition for his research and work in school improvement related to reducing achievement gaps in PK-12 public schools for children and adolescents living in poverty.

Parrett holds a Ph.D. in secondary education, an M.S. in alternative education and a B.S. in social studies education from the IU School of Education. He has served on the faculties of Indiana University, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Boise State University. As founder and director of the Boise State University Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies for the past 24 years, Parrett administered and coordinated funded projects and school improvement initiatives that exceed $80 million. He has also served as visiting faculty at Indiana University, the University of Manitoba, Oregon State University and Hokkaido University of Education.

He has co-authored 11 books, the past five being best-sellers. His two most recent, co-authored with Kathleen Budge—a new edition of the award-winning Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools and Disrupting Poverty: 5 Powerful Classroom Practices—were each honored as ASCD member books and distributed to over 58,000 educators worldwide.

Parrett co-produced Heart of the Country, an award-winning documentary of an extraordinary principal of a village elementary school in Hokkaido, Japan, and the collective passion of the community to educate the heart as well as the mind. He also served as a technical consultant and advisor for two recent productions, Disrupting Poverty in the Elementary and Secondary School and Don’t Count Me Out.

A frequent speaker at international and national events, Parrett’s four decades of work with federal, state and regional educational organizations, boards, districts and schools spans 46 states and 15 nations.

Throughout his career, Parrett has worked to improve the educational achievement of all children and youth, particularly those less advantaged. These efforts have positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of young people, many of whom live in poverty.

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Naomi B. Searle, M.Ed.

Excellence in PreK-12 Education Award 

Naomi B. Searle is a 1985 graduate of the IU School of Education. Searle took part in the Global Gateway for Teachers Program and completed her student teaching in Indianapolis and Exeter, England. She credits many of her teaching philosophies and successful teaching career to the opportunities and experiences afforded her through IU.

Following graduation, Searle obtained a first-grade teaching position in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, a rural school district. For the next 32 years, she taught either first grade or kindergarten while raising three daughters and earned her master’s degree in learning disabilities. Currently Searle is in her fourth year as a sixth-grade English and social studies teacher in the same school district. She enjoys teaching some of the same children a second time at this higher grade level. Furthermore, she loves being the teacher of children whose parents were also her students.

In addition to teaching, Searle has been involved with many community and school activities including coaching for Girls on the Run, Penn State Hershey Children’s Pediatric Cancer fundraiser, and instructing an after-school STEM club. She faithfully attends her students’ extracurricular sporting events and school productions. Her presence at these events has become expected by her students and their families.

Searle has followed in her paternal grandparents’ footsteps: both her grandmother and grandfather were School of Education graduates. She is most proud of the fact that the family legacy of educators continues: her two oldest daughters are elementary teachers in Kentucky and Texas, and her youngest is an education major at Penn State University.

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