The Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI honored two outstanding alumni during the second annual “Celebrating Transformational Leaders in Education” on Wednesday night at the IUPUI Campus Center. The even honored Jacob “Jake” Allen, MS’05, the principal of Paul Hadley Middle School in Mooresville, and Ann Mennonno, BS’99, first and second grade teacher at the Center for Inquiry at IPS School 27.
The event is to honor the achievements of early career alumni for their transformational work in public schools. A committee selects honorees from a pool of nominees. Each honoree receives a $1,000 award to advance his or her work. National Public Radio’s national education reporter Claudio Sanchez provided the keynote address for the ceremony.
The two honorees for this year’s ceremony have made distinctive marks on their schools and students since earning their School of Education degrees. Allen has successfully led Paul Hadley Middle School (PHMS) for three years. In the most recent Indiana state school assessment, PHMS narrowly missed an exemplary or “A” grade. Allen graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2000 with a degree in English Literature, but decided to enter education and completed the IU School of Education’s Transition to Teaching program in 2003. He began teaching in Mooresville Schools in 2004. He earned his master’s degree in language education in 2005 and then completed the Urban Principalship Program at the IU School of Education at IUPUI in 2009 and moved into his first administrative role as the Dean of Students at PHMS in 2010.
In August, the Indiana University School Administrators Association (IUSAA) based at the IU School of Education in Bloomington presented Allen with the Dean F. Berkley Emerging Leader Award. The IUSAA noted Allen’s passion for education and his attention and his focus on making sure all students can learn.
“Jake Allen is the epitome of a transformational leader in education,” said Scott Kern, the director of curriculum and instruction for the Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation. Kern called Allen a humble, servant leader and noted two other outstanding points. “Jake is an instructional leader,” he said. “He understands teaching and learning at a deep level. He is a student of his craft and works diligently to help teachers create an effective and efficient learning environment in the classroom. He understands that learning is much more than test preparation.” Kern said Allen also knows how to draw the best out of his staff. “He has the unique ability to listen, empathize, and challenge at the same time,” he said. “As a result, his staff is committed to his vision of teaching and learning.”
Mennonno is also an educator who has been recognized for excellence before. Earlier this year, the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) named her its teacher of the year for the second time (IPS also named her for the top award in 2004). A frequent presenter at district, state, national, and international conferences in the areas of language arts and science, Mennonno is a recognized innovator in teaching through the inquiry method. Last summer, she traveled to China to share teaching practices, where two schools replicated her classroom in their buildings. She is president of the Hearts in Education Teacher Outreach program which takes groups of teachers to Honduras where they work in rural schools in the country.
“Mrs. Mennonno exemplifies all of the attributes that make the very best teacher: she is meticulously organized, caring, positive, knowledgeable, collaborative, dedicated, professional, and purposeful,” said Jamilyn Bertsch, principal at IPS School 27. “It is a joy to observe Mrs. Mennonno’s class and see her students hard at work. In fact, every time that I enter her room, her first and second graders are happily engaged in authentic, rigorous learning tasks where they have adopted the roles of their discipline – working as authors in writer’s workshop, collaborating to solve problems as mathematicians, and exploring their world from the perspectives of scientists, historians, sociologists, and researchers. She is masterful with differentiation and embraces the opportunity to serve students with special needs, English learners, and high ability students – and her expectations are high for all students!”
The Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI is an institution defined by its place, while at the same time defining the role of urban education in the 21st century. Located in the heart of a major metropolitan area, the School prepares exemplary educators and leaders for urban settings.
The Indiana University School of Education honored four of its alumni who have touched education across the world, the nation and the state of Indiana during the Distinguished Alumni Award banquet Oct. 12. The 37th annual IU School of Education Distinguished Alumni Awards honored individuals who hold a degree from the school and have made a lasting impact through their work.
This year’s honorees are Abdul Farouk Ahmed, founder and managing director of ICC Consultants, an organization effectiveness and human resources management firm with operations in both Malaysia and Australia; Maurice C. Daniels, dean and professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia; David A. Lepkojus, a longtime teacher and administrator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Many Farms, Navajo Nation, Ariz.; and Victor A. Smith, a lifelong Hoosier educator and one of Indiana’s most visible and active advocates for public education.
“The four we honor this year as Distinguished Alumni Award recipients represent the broad range of ways our alumni touch education across the world,” said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education. “From changing higher education in Malaysia, to promoting social change in the American South, to ensuring quality education for students on Native American reservations, and advocating for Indiana’s public schools, this group is remarkable for such collective achievement. Each has been a fierce advocate for educational achievement, and we are proud to honor them all.”
Attendees packed the Georgian Room at the Indiana Memorial Union on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, to hear the vision for Indiana education laid out by the state’s superintendent of public instruction and insight on the national picture from the president of the Education Commission of the States. Glenda Ritz shared her experiences during her first eight months in office at Indiana schools superintendent during an Education Policy Chat presented by the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) at Indiana University.
Ritz was part of a program titled "DOE's Vision for Public Education in Indiana" along with Jeremy Anderson, the president of the Education Commission of the States, who served as discussant and Q-and-A session moderator.
Ritz told the audience she opposes labeling schools by an A-F grading system, the accountability system developed by her predecessor in office. That system has become the focus of state government re-evaluation following reports of manipulation. The superintendent said applying those grades to a school limits student possibilities upon graduation. “It has everything to do with labeling the children,” Ritz said. “There is nothing right about that.” She said that she supports accountability but wants a more fair and transparent system.
Ritz won a surprising victory in the November 2012 Indiana general election, defeating incumbent Indiana Superintendent Tony Bennett. Anderson, who became president of the Education Commission of the States late last year, will reflect on the Indiana education initiatives and compare and contrast them to education policy initiatives underway in other states.
The Education Commission of the States is a nationwide, nonpartisan organization that works directly with governors, legislators, chief state school officers, higher education officials and other leaders across all areas of education -- from pre-K to college and the workforce. The organization headquartered in Denver maintains a clearinghouse of education policy research and documents.
Anderson provided a statistical background for what Indiana and other states are doing in education evaluation and efforts to increase student performance. He discussed the ongoing controversy surrounding the Common Core standards, which have been passed in many states but are under fire by vocal opponents, including many in Indiana. Anderson noted that the Common Core discussion took place largely before 2009. When around 30 new governors came into office in 2010, many wanted to review the standards, holding up implementation.
CEEP, one of the country's leading nonpartisan education policy and program evaluation centers, promotes and supports rigorous evaluation and research primarily, but not exclusively, for educational, human services and nonprofit organizations. Center projects address state, national and international education questions. CEEP is part of the IU School of Education.
On April 24, 2013, a group of current and past Armstrong Teacher Educators at the Indiana University School of Education gathered to discuss handling a school crisis. Watch the complete panel discussion in this video.
Administrators in the Libertyville, IL Elementary School district have said it more than once—they just like to stick their heads in Danya Greenberg's classroom to watch how she teaches.
Greenberg, BS '09 with highest distinction from the IU School of Education, teaches in a 1st through 3rd grade special education classroom at Rockland Elementary School, part of the Libertyville (IL) Elementary School district in suburban Chicago. After completing just her third year there, she was a finalist for the prestigious 2012 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, given to outstanding teachers in the Chicago area. Greenberg teaches in the Elementary Instructional Program, a special education program she helped implement in the district. She's known for creative ideas, including use of Promethean Boards, iPods, and iPads, to engage her students, and as you'll see in this feature video using computer and video technology to bring reading alive.
Greenberg earned her early-career honor as a Golden Apple finalist out of a pool of 560 nominations. The well-known Chicago-area award has honored teachers for 28 years. Greenberg was one of the youngest finalists named in 2012.
To get an idea of just what kind of impression she has made, you only have to hear from others who work with her. "Miss Greenberg creates an environment that nurtures student growth and allows children to take pride in their accomplishments," said Marilynn Menuey, director of special education for Libertyville Elementary District 70 in an article published by the Chicago Tribune. "It is inspiring to watch her engage her students in the excitement of learning."
"She creates a positive and nurturing environment for her students," said Libertyville Elementary District 70 Superintendent Dr. Guy Schumacher. "It is evident that the children love coming to school and genuinely love their teacher. It is an honor to have Danya on the staff. She brings much to the classroom, Rockland School, and District 70 as a whole."
The honor adds to a long list of accolades Greenberg has already received. The former vice-president and president of the Dean's Advisory Council at the IU School of Education, she earned the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education "Outstanding Future Educator Award" in April 2009. She also received the Indiana Reading Professors Council of the Indiana State Reading Association "Outstanding Future Reading Teacher" award in March 2008. Greenberg spoke at both the commencement ceremonies for her graduating class and the IU School of Education's 100th anniversary ceremonies in 2008.
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