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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008

Armstrong Teacher Educator Awards honor top Indiana teachers

April 24, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Education announced this afternoon (April 24) that nine Indiana public school teachers are Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educator award winners for the 2008-09 school year.

Armstrong winners

The IU School of Education announced its 2008 Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educator award winners. In the front row are Bev Staub (left), Diana Lambdin (Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education and the Director of the Armstrong Teacher Educator Program), Carol Lutz, Angela Moreman and Michelle Green; in the middle row are Connie Frazier, James Schmidt, and Brian White; and in the back row are Kharon Grimmet and Chris Bundy.

Print-Quality Photo

Armstrong scholars, chosen by a committee of IU faculty and former recipients, are a select group of teachers who over the course of a year participate in professional development opportunities and share their expertise with IU students studying to become teachers. The School of Education honored the new award recipients during this afternoon's "Celebration of Teaching" event.

"As teacher education faculty, we feel incredibly lucky to have the Armstrong Teacher Educator Program at IU Bloomington," said Diana Lambdin, the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Chair in Teacher Education. "Whenever we describe the program to colleagues around the country, they are eager to learn how it works and how they might organize a similar program on their campuses."

District superintendents and principals nominate teachers for the Armstrong awards based on patterns of outstanding teaching and school leadership. The nominees must also demonstrate a potential to work effectively as mentors and role models for pre-service teachers.

The award winners for this year are:

  • Chris Bundy, a drama and theater teacher at Floyd Central High School in Floyds Knobs. Bundy has developed a unique apprenticeship program at his school, preparing his students with college level experiences as directors, technicians and theatre educators.
  • Connie Frazier, a social studies teacher at Madison Consolidated High School in Madison. Her students learn through community activities, including volunteering at the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, and working on a research project for display during next year's events marking Madison's bicentennial.
  • Michele (Chih Staresnick) Greene, a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township in Indianapolis. Greene is an advocate for equity and social justice who has served as lead instructor and co-developer of courses to help classroom teachers work with Indiana's growing ESL population.
  • Kharon Grimmet, a fourth grade teacher for MSD of Wayne Township in Indianapolis. A winner of many prestigious teaching awards, she's a former special needs life skills and general education first grade teacher who is determined to teach students of all abilities and socio-economic levels.
  • Carol Lutz, a primary special education and kindergarten teacher in Kokomo-Center Schools in Kokomo. She is a literacy coach who coordinates the full-day kindergarten program. As a state-certified teacher mentor, Lutz has conducted teacher professional development workshops covering reading, writing, classroom environment and economics.
  • Angela Moreman, the mathematics department chair at Creekside Middle School in Carmel. The pre-algebra, algebra and geometry teacher helps her students develop an appreciation for mathematics in the real world. Moreman coaches the school's MATHCOUNTS team. She was a 2007 finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching mathematics.
  • James Schmidt, a geography teacher at Penn High School Freshman Academy in Mishawaka. Schmidt looks for ways to include the outdoors in the classroom and change the educational environment. He tried to engage disenfranchised learners and make school relevant for reluctant learners.
  • Bev Staub, an art teacher at Washington Woods Elementary School in Westfield. She's helped create online curriculum-based activities and teacher resources for various art exhibits at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
  • Brian White, a chemistry and physics teacher at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. White teaches for IU's Advance College Project, which allows high school students to earn college credit for the chemistry study in high school. He emphasizes using technology to enhance student learning. His work has earned him other teaching honors, including the 2007 Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce High School Teacher of the Year.

Lambdin said this year's group is an outstanding representation of teachers from across the state. They 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 many other activities.

"It's a great opportunity to network with other outstanding teachers from around the state and to share ideas," said Jeff Rudkin, seventh and eighth grade video production teacher at Bachelor Middle School in Bloomington and a 2005-06 Armstrong Teacher Educator. Rudkin, who won the prestigious $25,000 National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation, addressed the new class of Armstrong Teachers during today's ceremony.

"Teachers who win the Armstrong should be leaders in education, should be standing up and going out and spreading the message about what's right about public education, what's good about public education," he said.

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 100 Indiana teachers have earned selection as Armstrong Teacher Educators.

More biographical information and photos of each Armstrong Teacher Educator is at:

Media Outlets: The following comments are available as mp3 files on the IU School of Education Web site at Look for this news release under "News" on the home page. The sound bites below will have a clickable link to hear and to save the files.

Lambdin describes how the pre-service teachers at the IU School of Education benefit from Armstrong Teacher Educators:

"They can invite us to visit their classrooms, if they're close enough that we can take a field trip, and I have done that with my own classes and it's just terrific. They can offer to work with our student teachers. So those in South Bend or Ft . Wayne -- quite far away from Bloomington -- have been wonderful in doing that when we have student teachers placed in their area. They come to campus and we organize four panel discussions each year -- two each semester where the Armstrong teachers appear and pick a topic the students have requested including classroom management, interviewing for jobs, and portfolios. They share their expertise with the students. They come and are guest lecturers in classes. So those are all the things they do for us. "

But the relationship also provides Armstrong Teacher Educators invaluable professional experience:

"Some things that we do for them, is to provide them with camaraderie of other outstanding teachers that they get very close with over the time of their involvement and then our annual retreats each June to which all of the Armstrong teaches are invited back. We offer them free credits for taking graduate studies here in Bloomington. In fact, some people have gone on to get doctorates and to become faculty winners here or elsewhere. So it's a win-win situation."

Rudkin says the experience of being an Armstrong Teacher Educator helped him become innovative in the classroom:

"Winning the Armstrong Award the year that I was able to spend on the IU campus and meeting with the other winners and working on campus from time to time helped me to think more out of the box -- more along the lines of what kind of assignments can I come up with that are going to be more authentic, that are going to help kids learn in a more powerful way, and help kids with different learning styles be able to learn. Because the old way of lecture, take notes, take a test, are not meeting the needs of all the students."