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Last modified: Monday, March 19, 2007

Armstrong Teacher Educator Awards honor top Indiana instructors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2007

EDITORS: At the bottom of this release are audio comments that are available as mp3 files on the IU School of Education Website at http://education.indiana.edu/audio.html.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Seven outstanding public school teachers from Indiana are winners of the Indiana University School of Education Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educator Award for the 2007-08 academic year.

Award recipients work with and lend their expertise to IU students studying to be teachers. The Armstrong Teacher Educators also have the opportunity to participate in professional development activities to advance individual goals and those of their schools and corporations.

Armstrong award winners are nominated by district superintendents and principals, and chosen by a committee of IU faculty and former recipients. The teachers are selected for patterns of outstanding teaching and school leadership, as well as their potential to work effectively as mentors and role models for pre-service teachers.

About this year's recipients:

  • Pam Fischer is an English teacher at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, where she's taught for 15 years out of her 19-year career. She's known for bringing translated works of literature into her classroom to foster a sense that her students are "citizens of the world."
  • Sue Keene has taught at Decatur Township for 32 years. Keene is collaborating with the district and Indy Car race team Panther Racing to develop a rigorous standards-based curriculum focusing on one of Indianapolis' claims to fame -- motorsports.
  • Angela Kelich has been an elementary teacher in Anderson Community Schools since 1993, but she's also an educator who wears many hats. A former high school volleyball, basketball and track coach, she's currently an assistant track and field coach for Anderson University. She's best known for using humor, song, dance and French in her classroom.
  • Greg Lineweaver is a ninth grade English and humanities teacher at Herron High School, a liberal arts, early-college charter school in downtown Indianapolis. Lineweaver has taught all four high school grade levels in urban and rural settings, and conducts workshops on educational technology, reading, writing and thinking strategies, and writing across the curriculum.
  • Susan Mattocks has been a teacher at Tri-County Middle Senior High School in Wolcott for thirteen years. She has taught reading, English and social studies. She challenges students through the "Reader's Digest Word Power Challenge" and has taken students to state-level competition for four years. She also encourages her students to make use of technology -- her students are now producing a movie on metaphors.
  • Lori Sampson has taught kindergarten through eighth grades at Avon Community School Corporation over the last twenty-five years. She is now teaching sixth graders in the corporation's gifted and talented program. Sampson and colleagues created a standards-based interdisciplinary unit called "Hoosier Hysteria," which she has presented to teachers across the state.
  • Stephen Wilson is a Spanish teacher at Kokomo's Northwestern High School. Wilson has kept his teaching fresh over eighteen years through challenges to himself such as spending a month in four Venezuelan cities during an exchange ten years ago and participating in workshops in Mexico.

"The Armstrong Teacher Educator program is one of many mutually beneficial activities connecting P-12 education in Indiana with the IU School of Education," said Diana Lambdin, the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education and associate dean for teacher education. "It is so exciting for our teacher education candidates to meet the Armstrong teachers each year, because these teachers are always chosen from among the very best in the state."

Armstrong teachers invite IU students and faculty to visit their classrooms and also work with campus-based courses, panel discussions, field experience sites, student-teaching seminars, research projects and many other activities.

"Our students appreciate getting to know these award-winning teachers who are actively involved in day-to-day school instruction," Lambdin said. "It's always amazing to learn about all their accomplishments. Providing outstanding role models for future teachers is a real plus of the Armstrong program."

The IU School of Education will honor these teachers during the annual "Celebration of Teaching" event in Bloomington on April 26.

The awards are made possible through the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Fund in Teacher Education, established through a gift from Cook Group Companies Inc. of Bloomington. The endowment also supports the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education.

Further biographical information for each Armstrong Teacher Educator can be found at: http://www.iub.edu/~atea/newawardees.html. More information about the program is available at http://www.indiana.edu/~atea.

Media Outlets:

The following comments are available as mp3 files on the IU School of Education Website at http://education.indiana.edu/audio.html.

Lambdin on what the committee looks for in selecting Armstrong Teacher Education Award-Winners:

"What different experiences have they had? Have they worked in training other teachers? Have they had student teachers, field-experience students? Have they conducted workshops for teachers in their own districts? Are they known statewide or nationwide for something particular? Overall, we're looking for something really interesting, some spark that will provide them some real credibility as a role model for our prospective teachers."

Lambdin says the award winners join an exclusive group of teachers who contribute to knowledge among themselves, other teachers and IU students:

"Once an Armstrong Teacher, always an Armstrong Teacher. One thing that we have is a retreat every June, where we invite all the Armstrong Teachers — and we have now well over one-hundred that we've identified over the years — to come back. They don't all make it each year, but we get a goodly number. And the professional energy that's generated at that conference, where they share teaching ideas with one another and with our students, is just terrific."

Lambdin on the benefits the teachers receive as Armstrong Teachers:

"They say that this is a rejuvenating experience...also coming throughout the year as an active Armstrong Teacher, and working with our students and with our faculty, getting involved with research projects that our faculty may be involved in, having a chance to take step out of their individual classrooms occasionally to attend other schools, to go to professional development. We offer tuition credits for them to take courses if they want to pursue additional coursework here at IU. So there are a range of benefits for the teachers themselves for being Armstrong Teachers."