University of Phoenix honors Champions of Education
It’s that time of year again, when Hollywood rolls out the red carpet to recognize those who’ve influenced our lives through pop culture. Meanwhile, in Dallas, another annual awards banquet takes place each January, but for those who actually change lives through education — our nation's teachers.
Since 1952, students, parents, teachers and administrators from every state and U.S. territory nominate their favorite educators for that state's Teacher of the Year honors and a chance at being named National Teacher of the Year. Hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and supported by several major associations that represent the education profession, it continues as “the oldest national program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching,” according to the CCSSO website.
This is the fourth year University of Phoenix has participated in this program by sponsoring the evening’s banquet. Representatives of the University attended the event again this year to present each state honoree with a Teaching It Forward® scholarship. Each full-tuition scholarship to the University is to be “taught forward,” by having each educator nominate an individual from their community who might not otherwise have the opportunity — or wherewithal — to pursue higher education.
“We applaud the commitment to student success that every Teacher of the Year demonstrates,” said Dr. Meredith Curley, dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix. “Our Teaching It Forward scholarship program was developed to give these local champions of education an opportunity to put a community member of their choice on track to earning their undergraduate or graduate degree.”
Curley, along with other University representatives were on hand in Dallas to meet each honoree. Among the more than 50 award recipients were three University of Phoenix students and alumni:
- Tong Chen, Leland & Gray Union High School, Townsend, Vt. — High school Chinese language and culture teacher, currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree program.
- Deanna LeBlanc, East Valley Elementary School, Fernley, Nev. — Veteran fourth-grade teacher. She completed Teaching English as a Second Language coursework in 2006.
- Kristie Martorelli, Thompson Ranch Elementary School, El Mirage, Ariz. — K-3 reading interventionist teacher, currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Education/Administration and Supervision degree program.
“We’re proud to see that three of our own students have attained such prestigious recognition,” Curley said. “Their dedication and inspired approach to teaching personify the College of Education mission of ‘impacting student learning, one educator at a time.’”
Throughout the rest of the year, every locally selected Teacher of the Year will serve as “education ambassadors,” attending speaking engagements and serving their state as a spokesperson for excellence in education. In February, one honoree will be selected as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, and will take the rest of the year away from their classroom to travel nationally and internationally as an advocate for the teaching profession. President Obama will introduce the 2012 National Teacher of the Year to the country later this spring in a special Rose Garden ceremony.