Two Teachers to Receive $10,000 Classroom Grants to Support Their Innovative and Creative Ideas to Engage Students

LOS ANGELES [April 1, 2013] — GOOD and University of Phoenix®, today revealed the four finalists who will remain in the running to win the Great American Teach-Off.  The program will award two deserving teachers – one from grades K-6 and one from grades 7-12 – with $10,000 classroom grants.

The four finalists have competed for public votes since March 4 to secure their place as one of America's most innovative teachers. The remaining finalists made it to the fifth round of voting with support from their respective local communities, as well as thousands of individuals across the nation. Each week, contestants submitted video responses to a series of questions highlighting their creativity and passion in the classroom, as well as their positive impact on the greater education community.

Past grant recipient Daryl Bilandzija of Odyssey Charter School in Altadena, Calif., brought classroom learning to life for his students with an outdoor edible and sustainable garden.  Grant recipient Terry Dougherty of Roland Rogers Elementary School in Galloway Township, N.J., drew on her own experience in a military family and created and funded a free military child-tutoring program.

The Great American Teach-Off Finalists

  • Sachiko Miyaji teaches 2nd grade at Melrose Elementary – Los Angeles, CA
  • Madeleine Rogin teaches Kindergarten at Prospect Sierra – El Cerrito, CA
  • Christopher Leonard Pennington teaches Life Skills for 9th – 12th grades at Thomas Alva Edison High School – Minneapolis, MN
  • Everett Jeremy Rodriguez teaches Theatre and Music for 9th – 12th grades at Liberty High School – Glen Daniel, WV

"Teachers play a critical role in shaping the futures of our nation's children," said Dr. Meredith Curley, Dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix. "The Great American Teach-Off is an opportunity to show our appreciation for teachers and provides a platform to share innovative classroom ideas. Curriculum in K-12 classrooms continues to evolve to be more hands-on and tie learning to real life experiences. This program celebrates teachers who engage students in creative new ways."

Voting for The Great American Teach-Off

Voting began on March 4 and will conclude April 7. The public can visit to cast their votes for the finalists. Each week, the contestant pool will be narrowed down by four finalists based on public votes. Two grant recipients will be named this spring.

Additional information about all eight finalists can be found at


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning can help students pursue personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As the flagship university of  Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit

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