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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Last modified: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IU School of Education names new Armstrong Teacher Educators

Designation honors top teachers, advances professional development, teacher preparation and education research

April 22, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Education has chosen seven Indiana public school teachers to be Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educators for the 2009-10 school year. A committee of IU faculty and former recipients choose the select group. Over the next year, the teachers will participate in professional development opportunities and work with IU faculty members and students studying to be teachers.

Armstrong Mandala

The Armstrong Mandala, the official logo for the Armstrong Teacher Educator program, was created by the class of '03-04 Armstrong Teacher Candice Clarke, an art teacher at Elkhart Memorial High School.

Print-Quality Photo

"With this honor, these teachers join an elite circle of educators," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education. "They have been selected because of their success in the classroom. Now they will join an enduring partnership to build upon that success and help future educators as well."

The Armstrong Teacher Educator Awards began in 1997. Superintendents and principals from around Indiana nominate teachers for the award based on patterns of outstanding teaching and school leadership. Nominees also must demonstrate the potential to work effectively as mentors and role models for pre-service teachers.

The award winners are:

  • Michael Baer, a teacher of physics, chemistry and earth and space science at South Adams Junior/Senior High School in Berne. Baer is the current Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for Adams County and has won numerous other teaching honors, including a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and the Indianapolis Star Distinguished Teacher Award. Baer said he hopes to bring students "the thrill of a search, the celebration of a find and the gift of bringing to light a discovery to share with others."
  • Jan Brill, a science teacher at Westfield Intermediate School in Westfield. Brill has developed a "specials" class focused on science and designed to supplement student learning in regular science class. The class is an inquiry-based, mostly open-ended, hands-on learning experience. She recently won a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and is a recipient of the Indianapolis Power and Light Golden Apple Award.
  • Tammy Lee Daugherty, advanced placement English teacher at Munster High School in Munster. She has a varied teaching background that includes teaching first grade and graduate classes in Norway. Daugherty says she focuses on connecting content to students' lives to create lifelong learners who are better equipped to become empowered global citizens.
  • Melinda McDugle, first-grade reading recovery teacher at Danville North Elementary in Danville. McDugle is a 2009 Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship winner. She said that she finds working individually with students fascinating as she watches and guides their literacy progress.
  • Dawn Musolino, media specialist at West Clay Elementary in Carmel. Musolino works with colleagues to enhance student learning through bimonthly, grade-level collaborations. She often presents literacy activities to fellow teachers during district professional development meetings and works with district curriculum leaders to create literacy programs used throughout the Carmel Clay Schools. In 2002, she was the recipient of a Martha Jennings Scholar award for outstanding teaching in Ohio. She also has worked on mentoring new teachers since arriving in Carmel in 2005.
  • Jeff Peterson, seventh-grade science teacher at Center Grove Middle School North in Greenwood. Peterson said he uses technology to provide a new framework where he can rethink instruction, assessments and student learning. The Indiana Computer Educators recently named Peterson the 2009 Indiana Computer Educators Teacher of the Year. Before becoming a science teacher in 2001, he served as an area manager at the Indianapolis Zoological Society, helping to lead the development of the "Edzootainment Team," which created and maintained fun and educational experiences for zoo visitors.
  • Anthony Sturgeon, seventh-grade English teacher at Fishers Junior High School in Fishers. His lively classroom is decorated with items from Star Wars movies, and he often features a poetry coffeehouse where students -- on a stage and amid lava lamps -- read their own poetry to classmates. Sturgeon co-directs Camp Tecumseh, the district's outdoor education program that involves taking the entire seventh grade class on a three-day, two-night excursion.

Armstrong teachers will 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 other activities.

Past Armstrong teachers have created unique projects from their year in the program. For example, a sixth-grade teacher produced a Web course called "Practicing Teachers as Mentors," designed to enhance how experienced teachers help newcomers. Another Armstrong educator worked with an IU faculty member to facilitate the adoption of an innovative math curriculum at an area elementary school.

"A unique aspect of the Armstrong program is that the teachers continue with their usual teaching assignments during their active year in the program, but we pay for their substitute teachers whenever they can arrange to come to campus for classroom visits or faculty collaborations," said Diana Lambdin, the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education at IU. "There is nothing so credible as a teacher who can say 'let me tell you what one of my students did yesterday!' Our teacher education students are always impressed by how down-to-earth the Armstrong teachers are, in spite of the many awards they have won."

The awards are made possible through the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Fund in Teacher Education, established through a gift from the Cook Group Companies, Inc. of Bloomington. The endowment also supports the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education. Since the program started, more than a hundred Indiana teachers have earned selection as Armstrong Teacher Educators. The teachers will be honored during the "Celebration of Teaching" event at the IU School of Education on April 29 (Wednesday).

More biographical information and photos of each Armstrong Teacher Educator are at: More information on the program is available at