Teacher of Honor Recipients

Teacher of Honor Recipients

Congratulations to these esteemed educators who were awarded KDP’s Teacher of Honor designation!

Teacher of Honor recipients are practicing educators with three or more years of professional experience who demonstrate commitment to continuous professional growth and integrity in the classroom.

Learn more about this distinguished award and criteria.
Past Recipients
  2013 Teacher of Honor
2012 Teacher of Honor
2011 Teacher of Honor
2010 Teacher of Honor
2009 Teacher of Honor
2008 Teacher of Honor

2014 Recipients
Lloyd Goldberg Dr. Ronald Knorr
Assistant Professor, Tift College of Education, Mercer University
Macon, GA
Dr. Ronald Knorr has been an assistant professor at Mercer University’s Tift College of Education since 2010. Beyond his responsibilities in the classroom, Knorr works with committees charged with maintaining accreditation. He also maintains an active research schedule. His work has appeared in 14 different peer-reviewed publications and he has presented on a number of topics in more than 30 settings. He is a co-author of the book The Segregated Georgia School for the Deaf: 1882-1975 (Sunbury Press).
Lloyd Goldberg Lloyd Goldberg
Fifth Grade Teacher at Elise Wolff Elementary School
Henderson, NV
Lloyd Goldberg is Instructional Strategist at Elise Wolff Elementary School in Henderson, Nevada. Goldberg has been employed with the Clark County School District since 2007 as a teacher of students in second through fifth grades. He has secured more than $25,000 in grant funding for his schools, including a National Education Association (NEA) literacy grant, and has been named an NEA Classroom Superhero (2011), a Clark County Education Association Star Educator of the Year (2012), a Discover Education Educator Network Star (2013), and a University of Nevada, Las Vegas/Clark County School District Teacher of the Game (2013-14).
Kevin Wong Kevin Wong
Graduate Student, Teachers' College, Columbia University
New York, NY
Kevin Wong was vice-chairman of the English department at Pui Kiu Primary School in Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong, where he was responsible for developing the English curriculum, assessment, and staff professional development. He also taught English language learners (ELLs) in grades 16. In 2014, Wong left the classroom and Hong Kong, moving to New York to pursue a master’s degree in International and Comparative Education at Teachers’ College, Columbia University.

Mindy Rose Mindy Rose
General Cooperative Education Coordinator/Teacher, Dutchtown High School
Geismar, LA
Mindy Rose has taught Family and Consumer Sciences at Dutchtown High School since 2010 and started the General Cooperative Education Program in 2013. She is extremely committed to her students, going beyond her teaching role by serving as an award-winning adviser for two student organizations: Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). Rose is also committed to giving back to the Dutchtown education community by serving as a mentor to new teachers.

Seith Bedard Seith Bedard
Director/Lead Teacher, Peabody Learning Academy
Peabody, MA
Seith Bedard has served special education students and at-risk youth for more than 10 years, beginning his career as a high school special education teacher. Now serving as director of the nationally recognized Simon Youth Peabody Learning Academy, Peabody High School’s alternative program for at-risk youth—an affiliate of the Simon Youth Foundation—he is known for inspiring his students to become lifelong learners and give back to their community. In 2012, he was recognized as the Simon Youth Foundation National Administrator of the Year.

Robin Self Robin Self
Campus Curriculum Facilitator
Alternative Education/Youth Center, Odessa, TX
As Campus Curriculum Facilitator at the Alternative Education/Youth Center—which serves at-risk students on a transitional basis until they can return to their traditional home campuses—Robin Self is committed to the well-being, development, and future success of the Center’s students. She works with teachers to develop and implement research-based teaching strategies for disadvantaged youth; facilitates professional learning communities; and acts as a coach and member of the support system. Members of the administration refer to her as “an excellent role model” for students and teachers alike.

2013 Recipients
Dr. Chantrell Anita Bruton Dr. Chantrell Anita Bruton
First Grade Teacher
Southside Elementary School, Cairo, GA
Attracted to the energy inside schools and aiming to impact children in a positive way, Bruton left a career in journalism to pursue teaching. Now with her heart decidedly in the classroom, she has initiated programs affecting both her students and the community and is known as a teacher who cares. Bruton also has demonstrated eagerness while collaborating with other teacher leaders on several school committees. She was named Southside Elementary’s Teacher of the Year in 2011.

Melissa C. Christl Melissa C. Christl
Second Grade Teacher
Pennoyer School, Norridge, IL
Demonstrating dedication to her profession and her school, Christl’s career—entirely at Pennoyer—has included teaching multiple grades, serving as a leader on committees, and mentoring other teachers. Known as a motivational educator who is generous in sharing her knowledge, Christl shows innovation in her teaching methods by incorporating individual differentiated instruction and various learning strategies. She aims to nurture a lifelong love of knowledge and reading in her students.

Dr. Eric Martone Dr. Eric Martone
Assistant Professor
Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY
Bringing history to life for his students, Dr. Martone shares his in-depth knowledge of the subject by providing creative instruction and an engaging classroom environment. In teaching education and history courses, he takes a hands-on approach by allowing students to experience the material and interact in rich discussion. Much of Dr. Martone’s research and scholarly writings involve the exploration of diversity in the Western experience, with a focus on the life of French writer Alexandre Dumas, known as the “Black Musketeer.”

2012 Recipients
Paula Ann Collet Paula Ann Collet
Science Teacher
Westside Elementary, Smithfield, VA
As an educator and a leader, Collet has the ability to connect with people of all ages, especially children. She has been dedicated to teaching elementary-age students of all learning abilities and backgrounds, especially in science, for more than 25 years. Known for her initiative, professionalism, and positive attitude, Collet has demonstrated great commitment to her students and throughout her many leadership roles within the school and school district.

Samantha Dooley Samantha Dooley
7th and 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher
Alma Middle School, Alma, AR
Not only has Dooley taught mathematics for four years, she is in her second year providing training for both students and fellow teachers about the newest teaching technologies. Known for her ability to engage and collaborate, she is vital to the implementation of professional development to fellow teachers. Dooley has been an active KDP member both as an undergraduate and professional, and now serves as the KDP State Delegate in Arkansas.

Xochitl Infante Xochitl Infante
Social Studies Teacher
Christian Fenger Christian Academy, Chicago, IL
Infante has demonstrated leadership qualities in and out of the classroom, with both students and colleagues. The course lead for the social studies team, she develops the department’s curriculum and facilitates meetings. She also leads the school’s MIKVA Challenge, a group that develops students’ civic skills and community involvement. Known as a positive, motivating, and creative teacher, Infante enjoys a strong rapport with her students.

Daniel Kaplin Daniel Kaplin
Adjunct Instructor
College of Staten Island
City University of New York
As adjunct instructor, Kaplin has demonstrated a contagious enthusiasm for psychology, along with an engaging and personable teaching style. Highly motivated, both as a student and now in the psychology field, he has earned several leadership positions: student organization faculty advisor, intern supervisor, and educational non-profit board member, among others. He plans to continue pursuing advanced opportunities in both teaching and psychology.

Nicole Martone Nicole Martone
English Teacher
John F. Kennedy High School, Waterbury, CT
Martone works to bring literature to life for her high school students, but effort extends much further. She truly advocates for her students. Her initiatives include successfully acquiring field trip grants to attend stage performances to help students to better grasp difficult literary works and serving on the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Team. Martone has helped create a positive learning environment and inspired students for future success.

Erica McDonald Erica McDonald
Instructor
Atlanta Public Schools and Cobb County Schools, Georgia
Much of McDonald’s teaching career has been dedicated to serving at-risk children and other disadvantaged students. As an elementary school teacher, instructor of adults seeking GEDs, and founder of an organization to help teen parents continue their education, she aspires to be an inspirational teacher and leader. In doing so, she continues to carry out the legacy of her great-great-grandfather, civil rights leader and educator Booker T. Washington.

Stefanie Scaglione Stefanie Scaglione
Special Education Teacher
A.W. Coolidge Middle School, Reading, MA
Known for being her students’ strongest advocate, Scaglione’s priority is the emotional well-being of and respect for each child in her classroom. She develops creative lesson plans that enhance student learning by utilizing all their senses, and she works with parents and fellow teachers to determine what curricula work best for each of her students. Scaglione’s many volunteer efforts benefit organizations such as the Special Olympics and Kappa Delta Pi.

2011 Recipients
Lisa S. Bircher Lisa S. Bircher
Honors Biology and Anatomy Teacher
East Palestine City Schools
East Palestine, OH
Mrs. Bircher is a high school science teacher and current doctoral student. She has conducted many presentations regarding doctoral student and science issues, and several of her manuscripts have been published. She is respected by both students and colleagues for her teaching quality and effective lesson planning. Mrs. Bircher’s students enjoy a high-level, enthusiastic, lighthearted classroom atmosphere. She has been praised for expanding her contributions outside the classroom, too, as a scholarship committee member and advisor to several student groups.

Steven A. Brigham II Steven A. Brigham II
Social Studies Instructor
Golden City Middle/High School
Golden City, MO
During Mr. Brigham’s years of teaching, leadership has been a key area of focus for him, and he has worked diligently at refining his leadership and communication skills. He has been recognized for directing an initiative for his school district to implement best practices for becoming a Professional Learning Community. With his abilities for both teaching and coaching athletics, Mr. Brigham has quickly earned the respect of his colleagues for his positive contributions to the school environment.

Dr. Cheron N. Hunter Dr. Cheron N. Hunter
Assistant Professor, Reading Education
Troy University Phenix City Campus
Phenix City, AL
Dr. Hunter began her teaching career as a second-grade teacher at Opelika City Schools in Alabama. She later turned her focus to graduate research on multicultural children’s literature, earning her doctorate in 2010. At Troy University, she teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in elementary and early childhood education and serves as a student advisor. When she is not teaching or researching, she can be found participating in several service projects on campus.

Dr. Guoli Liang Dr. Guoli Liang
Professor, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
Whitewater, WI
For more than 20 years, in both China and the United States, Dr. Liang has taught a variety of courses in the areas of physical education, motor development, and sports. However, he is revered as much for his enthusiasm and passion for the Chinese culture and language as he is for his teaching ability. His colleagues and students, and even the entire community, have benefited from his efforts to teach the language, advocate for international students, and provide leadership both in the classroom and out.

Dr. Regina Mistretta Dr. Regina Mistretta
Associate Professor/Program Coordinator
St. John’s University School of Education
Staten Island, NY
Dr. Mistretta’s teaching career spans the elementary, high school, and college levels. She has taught education and mathematics and is a champion for parental involvement and collaboration. She is also known for recruiting and mentoring highly talented faculty and being innovative in preparing students for 21st century teaching. She has secured resources for technologically advanced facilities and developed an internship program with the surrounding community. Dr. Mistretta is beloved by students and emulated by faculty alike for her passion, graciousness, and leadership.

Dr. Mary Napoli Dr. Mary Napoli
Assistant Professor, Reading and Children’s Literature
Penn State Harrisburg
Harrisburg, PA
Dr. Napoli is a professor of teaching methods and educational research, specializing in children’s literature. Her research into the role of children’s literature in their educational development has been widely published. She is known for integrating lively, interactive teaching methods into her own classrooms and is often praised by her students for the personal attention and encouragement she gives them.

Thomas Northfell Thomas Northfell
Elementary School Teacher
Sonora Elementary, Springdale, AR
Using innovative teaching practices and willingly sharing his time outside school hours, Tom Northfell has earned admiration and respect from both students and fellow teachers. From his “crazy science professor” persona portrayed on the school’s broadcast system, to his many after-school initiatives, Northfell has helped numerous students, many of whom speak English as a second language, reach their full potential. The former long-time Chicago Police Captain is known for offering his own time to tutor or mentor students and faculty.

Bonnie Robb Bonnie Robb
K–5 Math Achievement Coordinator
Portland Public Schools Portland, OR
Bonnie Robb has served Portland Public Schools since 1998, including 10 years as a first-grade teacher at Clark Elementary/Harrison Park School. She has worked with many children from impoverished backgrounds and for whom English is a second language, and a unique visual-learning curriculum she developed has improved literacy and communication skills among those populations. Currently, Robb works with Portland Public Schools to standardize and improve their math curriculum.

Lisa L. Rollins, Ph.D. Lisa L. Rollins, Ph.D.
Chairwoman and Assistant Professor, Department of Communication
Langston University, Langston, OK
With a background in public relations and journalism, Dr. Rollins brings a vast range of knowledge about the communications field to her students. Known as a selfless mentor, her dedication to students includes providing them real-world experiences, such as launching a magazine for which students can write articles and a public relations firm that represents real clients. Dr. Rollins has worked extensively as a PR professional, especially within the entertainment industry.

Dr. Julia Schroeder Dr. Julia Schroeder
Vice President for Instruction/Professor of Mathematics and Physics
John A. Logan College, Carterville, Illinois
As an innovator, leader, mentor, and professor, Dr. Schroeder has impacted both her educational community and the southern Illinois area. She spearheaded efforts to implement the College’s first online degree program, created a mentoring program for adjunct professors, and continues to develop innovative methods for course delivery. Most importantly, though, she is highly regarded as a caring, inspiring, and commanding, educator.

Melanie Shaw, Ph.D. Melanie Shaw, Ph.D.
Director of Curriculum Development
Northcentral University
Prescott Valley, AZ
Dr. Shaw’s commitment to education has spanned teaching, counseling, and administrative positions and elementary through graduate level students. She is known especially for her online education initiatives: developing courses, overseeing curricula, and mentoring and advising both faculty and students. She is a prolific writer, reviewer, researcher, and presenter and a founding member of KDP’s virtual chapter Alpha Delta Epsilon, where she has served in many roles and mentors its members.

Krystine Shea Krystine Shea
Language Arts Teacher
Avon Lake High School, OH
Known as a leader, lifelong learner, skillful communicator, and overall exemplary teacher, Shea is highly regarded by students, fellow teachers, and administrators alike. For five consecutive years, she has been nominated by her honors students and selected as the district’s Teacher of Excellence—which designates her as an “educator who has had a special impact on a student’s life.” In her work as a teacher mentor, group advisor, and curriculum writer, Shea consistently shows a willingness to learn and grow, and she always strives to benefit the school.

Dr. Barbara Siew Swan Hong Dr. Barbara Siew Swan Hong
Associate Professor of Special Education
The Pennsylvania State University–Altoona College
Altoona, PA
Dr. Hong teaches undergraduate through doctoral level special education courses, is a Fulbright Scholar at Qatar University and the First Honorable Visiting Scholar at the Taipei Municipal University of Education, and she serves as Counselor of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Chapter. Her research writings have appeared in scholarly journals such as International Journal of World Universities Forum and International Journal of Leadership of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management, and she is a consultant for Singapore’s Ministry of Education. According to colleagues, Dr. Hong consistently demonstrates her commitment to student success and to modeling high academic, professional, and personal values.

Kerrie Lee Slaton Kerrie Lee Slaton
Health, Physical Education, and Computer Literacy Teacher
Jefferson Community School, New Orleans, LA
A teacher in physical education and computer literacy for nearly 30 years, Slaton has been instrumental in advancing technology in her school for all curriculum areas, while also successfully writing several grants. A Committee Chair for Positive Behavior Intervention Support and a Promethean Training Liaison to the faculty, Ms. Slaton is known for her positive classroom management and generosity with her time and talents.

Catherine Spung Catherine Spung
Learning Behavior Specialist
Chrisman Elementary School/Edgar County CUSD #6, Chrisman, IL
Since Mrs. Spung began teaching special education students in 2005, she has worked tirelessly to influence their whole lives in a positive manner. Her creative lessons—using an interactive white board for virtual field trips around the world, as well as role playing with the solar system and water cycle—coupled with her high expectations allow students of varying abilities to learn and succeed. She is known for her innovative ways and selfless devotion, which has expanded outside her classroom to influence the quality of learning in the whole school.

Dr. Kelley Jo Walters Dr. Kelley Jo Walters
Ed.D. Program Director
Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Involved in a variety of higher education settings for much of her career, Dr. Walters has worked with faculty training and development, grant coordination, curriculum development, doctoral dissertation advising, and most especially, leadership and teaching in the online environment. For close to 20 years, she has been known for making personal the inherently remote nature of online education by mentoring and communicating with students and working closely with other faculty. She has taught both graduate and undergraduate online courses.

2010 Recipients
LaTricea D. Adams LaTricea D. Adams
Spanish Teacher, Department Head
Cane Ridge High School, Antioch, TN
LaTricea Adams’ efforts may have won her opportunities to travel to Spain and spend one week learning about the Dominican Republic, but it was her students who benefitted. She brings all of her experiences back to the culturally diverse Cane Ridge High School, where she helps her students achieve record-setting performances on foreign language assessment tests. Active in the student life as a cheerleading sponsor, she also helped develop the school’s very first International Festival. Her energy and interest in her subject area, as well as her students, means students will continue to benefit in the Antioch community.

Drinda E. Benge, Ed.D. Drinda E. Benge, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor, MAT Coordinator
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Dr. Benge began as a classroom instructor in elementary and middle schools in North Carolina, and has maintained her connection to the classroom through her direct supervision of preservice teachers from NC State. Her role there as a graduate and undergraduate professor, as well as coordinator of curriculum and instruction in English and social studies for future elementary and middle school instructors, keeps her connected. According to Dr. Gerald Ponder, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at NC State, Dr. Benge has re-energized the university’s KDP chapter and “has been instrumental in the successful accreditation process with NCATE and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.”

Kira Chauvin Berggren Kira Chauvin Berggren
School Librarian
Chateau Estates Elementary School, Kenner, LA
The excitement and enthusiasm of a new teacher and librarian shows through in all Kira Chauvin Berggren does for her students at Chateau Estates Elementary School. From working to secure additional funding for the school’s library following Hurricane Katrina, to exposing students to the exciting intersection of literature and technology, Chauvin Berggren epitomizes what a teacher of honor can be. She is a member of the Kappa Xi chapter.

Bonita L. Berryman-Gilliam, Psy.D. Bonita L. Berryman-Gilliam, Psy.D.
Social Sciences Instructor
University of Phoenix
Schaumburg, IL
Dr. Berryman-Gilliam not only teaches social sciences, but also models the ideals of that discipline. Her interest in social justice and African-American history has led her to conduct a number of research studies and to present at national and international conferences. She helped develop courses on multicultural psychology for the University of Phoenix, where she teaches. Her colleagues at the University of Phoenix describe her as a valued and respected educator.

Apryl Renee Brown, M.D. Apryl Renee Brown, M.D.
Biology Professor
Wayne County Community College District
Detroit, MI
Apryl Renee Brown’s passion for health has driven her career not only as a leader in public health initiatives in Detroit, but also as a public health educator. She knows the impact health education and access can mean to both individuals and the community, and works to impart that knowledge and passion to her students at WCCC.

Jacqueline L. Cahill, Ph.D. Jacqueline L. Cahill, Ph.D.
K–12 Online Learning Specialist
Douglas County School District
Castle Rock, CO
Beginning her teaching at Douglas County School District in 2006, Cahill has specialized in the district’s online learning programs since 2008, including its online resource rooms, online classes, alternative licensing program, and instruction for the ever-advancing edge in electronic tools available to enhance education and learning. She earned her doctorate in E-Learning Education from North Central University and was a summa cum laude Master’s graduate in Curriculum and Instruction at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Reynaldo L. Duran, M.A.T. Reynaldo L. Duran, M.A.T.
Mathematics Teacher
Presidio High School, Presidio, TX
Reynaldo L. Duran loves mathematics and is determined to impart that love to his students. Prior to coming to the United States from the Philippines, he coached mathematics and population quiz teams that challenged students to compete against other students of achievement. He participated in the Visiting International Faculty (VIF) Program where he served as an educator and cultural ambassador in North Carolina for three years. He continues that work in Texas as a valued member of the faculty at Presidio High School.

Janet Eggleston, M.A. Janet Eggleston, M.A.
Special Education Teacher, Intervention Specialist
P.A.C.E. High School, Cincinnati, OH
Janet Eggleston is a teacher who is not willing to give up on any student—and she reflects that in her commitment to alternative secondary education for students who have dropped out, or not succeeded in other school settings. For the past eight years, Eggleston has worked to meet the needs of students who are making a second try at educational success. She always goes the extra mile, according to Geri L. Perrino, P.A.C.E.’s Director of Special Education. A highly qualified intervention specialist, Eggleston’s academic focus is on special education.

Thomas P. Flood Thomas P. Flood
Guidance Counselor
Burlington County Institute of Technology
Westhampton, NJ
While Thomas P. Flood’s work now centers on counseling students as they navigate their current educational pursuits and plan future efforts, he remains a teacher at heart. Flood started out as a classroom instructor and continues to work closely with students and teachers to ensure access to quality educational opportunities for all students.

Rita Guzman Rita Guzman
K–5 ESL Teacher, Valley View School District
Romeoville, IL
It’s expected that students who have English as a second language will get instruction to help improve their reading, writing, and speaking language skills. But Rita Guzman has not limited her efforts to just those areas. She also insists on involving students and their parents in language learning and engaging the entire school in opportunities to increase and appreciate cultural diversity.

SoYoung Kang, PhD SoYoung Kang, PhD
Assistant Professor of Education
Westminster College
New Wilmington, PA
The old saying goes, “it takes one to know one.” And good teachers know other good teachers. Dr. Kang’s colleagues and students are unanimous in their praise for her ability to teach meaningful foundational, ELL, and honors classes to current and future teachers studying at Westminster College.

John Krenik John Krenik
Art Teacher, Grades 6–8
Nauset Regional Middle School
Orleans, MA
A veteran art educator and an accomplished artist, Krenik has been bringing his passion for art to the classroom as a K–12 teacher for the past 30 years, the last 23 at Nauset Regional Middle School. Recognized at the regional and national levels for both his teaching and artistry, Krenik is National Board Certified, a Massachusetts Master Teacher, Massachusetts Middle School Art Educator of the Year, and Fellow in Massachusetts Teacher Leadership Academy.

Kathy Lindstrom Kathy Lindstrom
English Department Chair
Desert Hills High School, Gilbert, AZ
Kathy is a 21-year veteran teacher, who has worked primarily with at-risk students in California and Arizona. In her five years at DHHS, Lindstrom has served as English Department chair, where she has increased sophomore Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test scores by 40 percent. A member of Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) AIMS committees since 2005, Kathy has assisted in development of both the AIMS reading tests and anchor scoring AIMS writing. Additionally, she is vice president of the Arizona Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and is earning her Doctor of Education at Northcentral University.

LeAnn M. Morris LeAnn M. Morris
Technology Teacher
Empire Elementary School
Carson City, NV
Nevada’s 2008 “Teacher of the Year” is also a Kappa Delta Pi Teacher of Honor. Recognized many times for her expertise in making technology accessible and understandable to students of varying ages, LeAnn Morris epitomizes the dedicated teacher that parents hope their children encounter. A Carson City, NV teacher since 1994, she is a student herself, completing her Ph.D. in Educational Technology.

Chance O. Nalley Chance O. Nalley
Mathematics Teacher
Columbia Secondary School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering
New York, NY
Already recognized by Math of America as one of America’s “Master Teachers,” Chance O. Nalley is described by parents, students, and colleagues as an extraordinary teacher. Committed to imparting the sometimes difficult and challenging lessons of mathematics to his students, Nalley also has helped broaden the social and community experiences of his students.

Henry Oh, Ph.D. Henry Oh, Ph.D.
Director and Professor, Respiratory Therapy Program
San Juan College, School of Health Sciences, Farmington, NM
Henry Oh is not only dedicated to the education of his students, but also knows that their success depends on their commitment to the health and safety of patients needing respiratory care. A registered respiratory therapist (RCT), Dr. Oh brings his passion for education and health care to his classroom every day, as well as to his work among his colleagues in the New Mexico State Society of American Medical Technologists, which he serves as president.

Phyllis T. Pacilli, Ph.D. Phyllis T. Pacilli, Ph.D.
Mathematics Teacher, Boca Raton Community High School
Mathematics Instructor, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Described by her colleagues as “creative, concise, and clever,” Dr. Phyllis Pacilli works hard to integrate technology, science, and mathematics into real-world applications—whether she’s teaching her high school students or her college-age teacher education students. Her far-reaching impact in the education community includes encouraging her students to desire to seek excellence and to grow their intellectual curiosity.

Diane D. Painter, Ph.D. Diane D. Painter, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Special Edu cation
Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA
In the effort to ensure a bright future for education, Diane Painter plays a critical role. U.S. Labor Department projections indicate a continued growing need for special education teachers in America’s schools. Dr. Painter brings her love of students and her more than two decades of experience as a classroom teacher and researcher to the preparation of the next generation of special education teachers.

Barbara Ruth Peltzman, Ed.D. Barbara Ruth Peltzman, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Director of Field Experience,
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
St. John’s University, Staten Island, NY
A career educator with a passion for special needs children and early childhood education, Dr. Barbara Ruth Peltzman has helped prepare many great teachers in her life. For more than 30 years, she has taught curriculum, children’s literature, education history and methodology for preparing teachers at St. John’s University. The author of two books on the history of education, Dr. Peltzman is never far from where she started, the elementary school. She not only teaches tomorrow’s teachers, she also interacts with today’s students.

Rhoda M. Samkoff Rhoda M. Samkoff
Strategies Intervention Teacher
South Mountain School
Millburn, NJ
As a strategies intervention teacher, Rhoda Samkoff cares not only what students learn, but how they learn. She is widely respected for her expertise in designing and applying effective teaching strategies. Ms. Samkoff shares techniques with teachers and students alike to ensure meaningful instruction. She has taught at both the elementary and college levels. According to Ms. Samkoff, “Successful teaching and learning is based on a tripod of goals; independence, self-motivation, and pride.” In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Samkoff is the founder and advisor of one of the nation’s leading student councils. She has authored the book In a Class of Your Own: Essential Strategies for the New K-6 Teacher (Corwin Press, August 2010).

Karen A. Shearer, EdD Karen A. Shearer, EdD
First Grade Teacher
Eastbrook Elementary School
Winter Park, FL
A 2011 Semi-Finalist for “Teacher of the Year” in Seminole County, Florida, Dr. Shearer is described by her colleagues as a compassionate and articulate teacher and person. Her principal notes that she “teaches students to be all they can be and more!”

Eloise D. Stewart Eloise D. Stewart
Resource & Inclusion Specialist
Fernbrook Elementary School
Randolph, NJ
After more than two decades in the classroom, Eloise Stewart is showing no signs of slowing down. Currently a doctoral candidate in teaching leadership, she provides daily leadership in her classroom for children with a variety of special needs. Described as a compassionate leader who craves new knowledge, Stewart remains close to her students and their goals of achieving at their highest level possible.

Jeremy Utt Jeremy Utt
Math and Algebra I Teacher
Windsor Middle School, Windsor, VA
Though Jeremy has taught only four years, his achievements surpassed the minimum requirements for this award. He has earned endorsement in gifted education to better meet the needs of his students, developed school curriculum, served as Chairperson of the Teacher Council and co-president of the Isle of Wight Education Association, and currently cosponsors the Junior Beta Club at Windsor. “Mr. Utt is passionate about meeting the needs of all students, including the gifted,” said Lisa Kardos, colleague and parent of one of Utt’s students.

Stephanie B. Weltz Stephanie B. Weltz
Spanish Teacher, Battery Creek High School
Beaufort, SC
A hard-working teacher in the classroom, Stephanie Weltz understands that a foreign language can be difficult to learn and requires extra effort—thus, she willingly tutors her students outside of class time. A self-professed “technology geek,” Weltz also prides herself on introducing the value of technology to her instruction and that of her colleagues at Battery Creek High School.

2009 Recipients
Stella C. Batagiannis, Ph.D. Stella C. Batagiannis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor – Educational Leadership
Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), IN
With more than 30 years of teaching and educational leadership experience in K–12 education, Stella’s professional background ranges from teaching English to serving as superintendent in two different Indiana high schools; first at Mishawaka, and then West Lafayette. With a longstanding focus on strengthening leadership, her achievements include establishing administrative internship programs, as well as presenting and publishing, locally and nationally, on leadership and curriculum development. Stella’s most recent honors include the Dean’s Faculty Accomplishment Award2006-2007 and the Excellence in Faculty Advising Award 2006-2007–Professional Studies.

Terri L. Browning Terri L. Browning
English Department Chair
Oxford Junior/Senior High School, Oxford, KS
A 15-year teacher at Oxford, Terri has embraced the role of teacher leader by serving on the district’s Leadership Team, as department chair for 10 years, and reading goal chair for the last three years. She is recognized by her peers and principal as a collaborator and one to challenge herself to research better practices, take on new roles, and learn new technology.

Julie Caglarcan Julie Caglarcan
Special Education Teacher
Austin Independent School District, Austin, TX
Ten-year educator, Julie, “has demonstrated a consistent child-centered approach to working with children who have been hospitalized due to emotional crisis and breakdowns,” said Kate Anderson, MA, CCC/SLP, Julie’s coworker at Austin State Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services Day School. She creates a safe and nurturing environment that encourages students to take educational risks, despite their previous educational failures. It is “her ability and dedication to make a significant impact and difference in the lives of her students” that led to her inclusion in the 2005–2006 edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Sir David Santandreu Calonge Sir David Santandreu Calonge
Senior Education Development Officer of the Education Development Office
City University of Hong Kong (CityU)
Santandreu Calonge arrived in Hong Kong in 1993 and joined CityU in 2000. His first position in Hong Kong involved serving as a French teacher in the Division of Language Studies in the Community College of City University. He then became a member of the Education Development Office and currently provides staff and professional development for teachers and administrators. Over the years, David has worked hard on developing different teaching methods to improve students’ communication and language skills. He also has been featured in television and radio programs promoting French language and culture.

Marilyn Cook Marilyn Cook
Title 1 Reading Teacher
Port Aransas Independent School District, Port Aransas, TX
Marilyn, who has both a master’s of science degree in curriculum and instruction and a master’s of science in educational administration and supervision, has taught K—12 at all levels and as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. In addition to her Teacher of Honor recognition, Marilyn was a 2007 finalist in the Lifetime Achievement category of the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award and has published articles in various educational publications. She serves on the board of directors of the Council of Elementary Science International and on the advisory board of the Parents Association at Texas State University.

Dr. Rachel Finley-Bowman Dr. Rachel Finley-Bowman
Associate Professor of Social Studies Education
Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA
Dr. Finley-Bowman has taught in five different collegiate schools, is a member of more than 10 professional organizations, frequently presents her research in Social Studies to councils, organizations, and at various meetings, and has published numerous peer- and expert-reviewed articles. In October 2008, Finley-Bowman received an Elizabethtown College Faculty Starter Grant for her current project involving the founding and development of a new regional professional organization—The Susquehanna Valley Council for the Social Studies.

Rayna Freedman Rayna Freedman
3rd-Grade Teacher
Jordan/Jackson Elementary School, Mansfield, MA
Rayna has been an active educator at Jordan/Jackson since 2000, creating projects for her students that incorporate technology, language arts, music, and art. These projects combine in a unique way to help her students to deal with their emotions and effectively solve problems. Community service with her students, professional development and online courses, published articles, and a master’s degree from Lesley University are only a few of Rayna’s accomplishments throughout her professional career.

Nancy K. Grim Nancy K. Grim
English Teacher
Annandale High School, Annandale, VA
Nancy, a 36-year educator, has taught 21 years at Fairfax County’s Annadale High School. She is certified in educational administration, and in 2005 was recognized in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, an honor achieved by only nine percent of the nation’s teachers. Ms. Grim served her school as the 12th-grade team leader, created a 40-page comprehensive commencement handbook for Annandale High School as a guide for school personnel to coordinate and carry out graduation exercises, and participated in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s College Readiness Evaluation for Schools and Teachers (CREST).

Marian Jackson Marian Jackson
French Teacher
Port Barre High School, Port Barre, LA
Described by her assistant principal as a “prolific educator and leader at Port Barre,” Marian has received honors locally and nationally, from Teacher of the Year for the St. Landry Parish School System in 2005–2006 to inclusion in the ninth edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers In 2004–2005. She has served as a reviewer for the national Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program, and in March 2008, her article “Academic and Student Affairs Issues Post Hurricane Katrina” was published online. Marian also serves as chairperson of foreign languages at Port Barre.

Malissa Ann Leipold Malissa Ann Leipold
Assistant Professor
Iona College, New Rochelle, NY
As coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program (ELP), Malissa has revised its entire curriculum and submitted a report that helped Iona earn NCATE accreditation, which earned national recognition for Iona’s ELP program. At Iona Malissa has served on the Committee on Academic Affairs and the Committee on the Budget. She published the book, Job Satisfaction, and various journal articles. In 2008 Malissa presented “Teacher Motivation and Factors Influencing New York State High School Teachers’ Job Satisfaction” at an international educational leadership conference in Malta.

Dr. Lienne Federico Medford Dr. Lienne Federico Medford
Director, Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching Middle Grades Program
Clemson University, Greenville, SC
Lienne has accomplished much in the last nine years, including introducing Clemson’s MAT program for career changers. For this program, she annually recruits and trains 40 teacher candidates, spending “countless hours mentoring and advising students,” said graduate assistant Mary Helen Landmesser. Lienne’s efforts earned her the College of Education’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Advising and Mentoring and the university’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

Melissa Pierczynski Melissa Pierczynski
Language Arts Teacher
LaSalle Springs Middle School, Wildwood, MO
Melissa is a Language Arts Teacher with 9 years of classroom experience that includes teaching language arts at LaSalle Springs Middle School. During her education career, she has served as the elected Professional Representative on the National Executive Council for Kappa Delta Pi, participated in 312 hours professional development, presented at professional conferences, published articles in KDP’s New Teacher Advocate and Scholastic’s Instructor New Teacher Magazine, and served as Grade Team Leader at LaSalle Springs Middle School.

Clinton Smith Clinton Smith
Special Education Teacher
Shadowlawn Middle School, Arlington, TN
Clinton has successfully combined his passions for working with students who have special needs and community outreach by taking an active role in the Tennessee Special Olympics. In 2005, Clinton was named by Shelby County as Pilot Club of Shelby County Special Education Teacher of the Year, and, more recently, in 2008, as a Shadowlawn National Teacher Day Honoree. He holds a master’s of science degree in instruction and curriculum leadership with a concentration in special education from the University of Memphis.

2008 Recipients
Dr. Suzanne Banas Dr. Suzanne Banas
Lead Teacher
Richmond Heights Middle School–Zoo Magnet, Miami, FL
Suzanne is a National Board Certified Teacher with 22 years of classroom experience, and a mentor and trainer in several science and technology professional development programs. She has been recognized for her innovative teaching approach with the Science Zoo Magnet, which has included utilizing research abroad, technology, and hands-on opportunities with animals at the Miami Dade Zoo.

Mara Cawein Mara Cawein
Clinical Instructor
University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
Mara is a National Board Certified Teacher with 14 years of classroom experience that includes teaching mathematics at Morrilton High School and education at the University of Central Arkansas. During her education career, she has served as a local and national volunteer for KDP, presented seminars, and served as a volunteer leader for the Arkansas Association for Professional Teaching. She also has assisted facilitating the Arkansas Department of Education program on nontraditional licensure program models.

Dr. Madeline Kovarik Dr. Madeline Kovarik
Assistant Professor of Education
Rollins College, Winter Park, FL
During her academic career at Rollins College, Madeline has served as an advisor and national volunteer for KDP, participated on the Regional Board of Odyssey of the Mind, and volunteered on the Brevard County Public Schools Professional Development Council.

Crystal Mallett Crystal Mallett
English Teacher
Pineville High School, Pineville, LA
A three-year educator, Crystal has a master’s degree in education from Northwestern Louisiana State University. She has served as Pineville’s representative to IMAC training, which educates and trains teachers to be mentors and coaches for technology innovations. She was instrumental in developing curriculum guidelines for her school’s English Language Honors and Gifted Program.

Brenda Mescher Brenda Mescher
Mathematics Teacher
St. Joseph Middle School, Battle Creek, MI
Brenda graduated from Ball State University (IN) and has four years of classroom experience. As a beginning teacher, she applied for and secured a grant to fund Texas Instrument calculators to be used in conjunctions with her school’s TI-Navigator system. Because of her success, she went on to present workshops on her experience at numerous universities, intermediate school districts, and other schools throughout the Midwest.

Lisa N. Mitchell Lisa N. Mitchell
Lecturer, Department of Art
Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
A National Board Certified Teacher in early and middle childhood art, Lisa has 15 years of experience in the classroom, teaching students from kindergarten to college. During her career, she has been an active board member of the North Carolina Art Education Association, assisted the Department of Public Instruction in creating state standards for visual arts teachers, and supported education and the arts by participating in local, state, and national organizations.

Janice L. Reyes Janice L. Reyes
Lead 8th-Grade Teacher
Lee Middle School, Sharpsburg, GA
Janice has five years of classroom experience and a masters’ degree in middle school education from Brenau University. During her education career, she has served as a local volunteer for Relay for Life, was active in starting the Lee Middle School PTA, and applied for a Bright Ideas grant for math and literature. She also has assisted her school in implementing Georgia Performance Standards.

Stacey Shubitz Stacey Shubitz
Fourth-Grade Teacher
The Learning Community, Central Falls, RI
After a career change from public relations to education, Stacey taught in East Harlem for three years before moving to her current public charter school. In her first few years in the classroom, Stacey secured more than $30,000 in funds for classroom and instructional supplies, field trips, and special programming through her proposals on DonorsChoose.org. In addition to the writing programs she has implemented and taught in her classrooms, Stacey also has led school literacy programs that earned her recognition among her peers as a leader in upper-grade literacy instruction. She has published several articles for Instructor Magazine and coauthored the 2007 book, DEAL WITH IT! Powerful Words from Smart, Young Women.

Jennifer Wilson Jennifer Wilson
Lead 3rd-Grade Teacher
Grant Ranch School, Littleton, CO
Named 2006 Disney Outstanding Elementary School Teacher, Jennifer has 18 years of experience in the classroom in both Colorado and Texas. In addition to teaching, she has served as a local volunteer Read-A-Thon coordinator, providing books to Colorado Homeless Families, a nonprofit transitional housing program. Jennifer received a grant from Xcel Energy to share instructional materials she developed with other Denver-area teachers and has attended professional development workshops through the Denver Public School Literacy Program.