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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Ghangis D. Carter
IU School of Education

Last modified: Thursday, February 1, 2007

National Teacher of the Year to Speak at IU School of Education on Feb. 12

The IU School of Education presents the "Aspire to Teach, Teach to Inspire" lecture

Feb. 1, 2007

EDITORS: Mp3 audio files with sound bites from Oliver regarding her visit to IU are available. To download the files, go to:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The National Teacher of the Year, Kimberly Oliver, will appear in Bloomington this month to share her inspiring story of how she raised academic performance at a low performing school just north of downtown Washington, D.C. through important collaborations and despite substantial obstacles, such as poverty and language issues.

Kimberly Oliver

Kimberly Oliver, the National Teacher of the Year, poses with President George W. Bush. Oliver will be giving a free lecture at the IU School of Education.

On Feb. 12, Oliver is presenting the Indiana University School of Education's "Aspire to Teach, Teach to Inspire" lecture, presented by the school's Office of Recruitment and Retention. She will attend a 6:30 p.m. reception at the atrium of the W.W. Wright School of Education Building, 201 N. Rose Avenue in Bloomington, and then speak at 7 p.m. in the School of Education Auditorium.

As a young kindergarten teacher, Oliver began her work at Broad Acres Elementary in Silver Spring, Md., in the suburban Washington, D.C. area, six years ago

Ninety percent of the students lived in poverty. Three-quarters of the students' families spoke a language other than English. Test scores reflected a school struggling to meet growing state and federal standards. Maryland threatened to restructure the school because of continuing poor scores on standardized tests. Oliver, just 24 at the time, immediately set out to involving the community in shaping the future of her school.

"Through collaborating with others," Oliver said, "I helped turn around an underperforming school despite the obstacles of poverty, race, language and mobility."

Oliver started several programs to promote consistent curriculum, instruction and assessment throughout the school. The results were dramatic. In 2001, Broad Acres surpassed all other schools in the system for test score improvement. Scores met or exceeded "No Child Left Behind" standards in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

"Kimberly Oliver exemplifies the great difference a truly outstanding teacher can make," said Gerardo M. Gonzalez, university dean of the IU School of Education. "Teachers are the single most important school-based factor in promoting high student achievement. We're very proud to have her visit the School of Education and our community."

Her success if one reason Oliver found herself standing on the White House south lawn last April. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush joined U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to introduce Oliver as the 2006 National Teacher of the Year.

Oliver will speak about how she has excelled at such a young age while raising performance at a low-performing school.

"My main theme is about equity in education," Oliver said, "and really just ensuring that we give every child a fair chance to receive an excellent education. And one of the key components of that is providing early childhood education that is accessible in quality to all children regardless of their ability to pay for it. I think when we give students a strong foundation, that prepares them for the work that they need to do in school and in life."

Her collaborative projects include getting grants to supply students with better equipment and learning materials. But she also invites families into the school for a serving of reading and food. Four times a year, she sponsors "Books and Supper Night." Families visit the school, check out books from the library, get some free books to keep at home, and share dinner with other families.

The National Teacher of the Year program began in 1952 and remains the most prestigious honor for excellence in teaching. A committee of 14 representatives from national education organizations selects the national winner among the state teachers of the year selected across the country. Administrators, teachers, and students nominate candidates in each state. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) oversees the program.

More biographical information on Oliver is available on the CCSSO Web site at

Media may contact Chuck Carney, director of communications and media relations at the IU School of Education, at or 812-856-8027.