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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eight outstanding Indiana teachers make up new Armstrong Teacher Educators

April 27, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --The Indiana University School of Education has announced eight Indiana public school teachers as the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educators for the 2011-12 school year. These select teachers participate in professional development opportunities and work with IU faculty and students studying to be teachers over the next year. A committee of IU faculty and former recipients choose the Armstrong teachers. The IU School of Education honored the eight during its annual "Celebration of Teaching" ceremony today (April 27).

Armstong Teachers, 2011-2012

The 2011-12 Armstrong Teacher Educators include: back row (left to right), Tony Record, Brian Tonsoni, Pete Kloosterman (Armstrong Chair), Marianne Berlin; front row (left to right), Ellen Haury, Kate Kuonen, Laren T. Molinari, Jennifer Monday, Carey Munoz.

Print-Quality Photo

The awards are possible through the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Fund in Teacher Education, established through a gift from the Cook Group Companies Inc. of Bloomington. In 1996, Bill and Gayle Cook designated a $1 million gift to honor longtime IU Foundation President Bill Armstrong and his wife, Martha Lea. The Armstrongs asked that the gift support Indiana's teachers and worked with the Cooks and the School of Education to develop the program. In memory of Bill Cook, who died on April 15, 2011, the Cook family designated memorial donations be directed to the Armstrong Fund.

"It was such an important program to Bill Cook," said Phyllis McCullough, executive vice chairman of Cook Group Inc. and a member of the IU Foundation Board of Directors. McCullough was friends with the Armstrongs and Cook and said the program is a tribute to Bill and Martha Lea Armstrong as well as Cook's belief in supporting education. "He was very dedicated to making sure the program has long-term funding," McCullough said.

"The Cook family's generosity has given rise to one of the nation's premier university-school partnerships," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education. "We are very proud of the teachers selected each year as Armstrong educators and the School of Education faculty who work with them. Because of these outstanding teachers and the students they teach, Bill Cook's legacy of promoting excellence in education will live through the ages."

"We are very pleased with the quality and range of experience in this year's cohort," said Peter Kloosterman, the current Armstrong Chair and professor of mathematics education. "We have individuals from across the state who teach everything from kindergarten to AP calculus."

Here are the new Armstrong Teacher Educators:

  • Jennifer Monday, kindergarten teacher at South Creek Elementary School in Franklin Township Community School Corp. in Indianapolis: As the writing coach for South Creek Elementary, Monday shares her passion for writing instruction with her colleagues. Through grant writing, Jennifer seeks funding to support new lessons and activities for her students. She has received 24 grants from and three grants from Warren Township's Arts and Education Foundation.
  • Laren T. Molinari, fourth grade teacher at Fort Wayne Oak View Elementary: Molinari's annual oral hygiene program, praised by parents and the local dental community, was featured in Dentistry Today, a national dental publication, two Fort Wayne newspapers, and a local television station. Science is her first love and she believes in hands-on approaches. Molinari also coaches pole vault, shot-put, and discus at Maple Creek Middle School.
  • Tony Record, advanced placement calculus teacher at Avon High School: A 2011 Indiana State Teacher of the Year finalist, Record has had a 21-year career at Avon. He has helped oversee an AP Calculus program that has increased its student enrollment from fewer than a dozen students to nearly 200. Record is an adjunct faculty member at Vincennes University and, over the past two decades, has coached four different sports at Avon.
  • Kate Kuonen, a Middle Years Programme teacher at the Center for Inquiry at IPS School #84 in Indianapolis: Kuonen pushes her students to work for social justice, first by recognizing it in the classroom and then to consider a more global perspective. Her students have written, performed, recorded, marketed, manufactured, packaged and sold more than $400 worth of original music during a language arts unit that focused on community and service, with proceeds going to the IU-Kenya project to promote health care and education. Kuonen went to Kenya on a Fulbright Hayes Scholarship to learn more about the culture first hand through service learning and an intensive cultural exchange with Moi University. Her lessons have been the focus of professional publications including School Library Magazine and Creating Critical Classrooms.
  • Marianne Berlin, Monrovia Elementary media center instructor and director: Berlin has taught in the Monroe-Gregg School District for 39 years and has served in a variety of educator positions including teaching second through sixth grades and elementary principal. In 2006 she received a Lilly Foundation Creativity Grant allowing her to trace the footsteps of Indiana author Gene Stratton Porter. Since that summer Berlin received the IPL Golden Apple Award and obtained grants totaling $10,000 to purchase materials for the library.
  • Brian Tonsoni, Social Studies Department chair at Delphi Community Schools: Tonsoni teaches economics and U.S. history in a classroom he says he strives to make a place where all students can learn. Tonsoni says he makes special attempts each day to build positive lasting relationships. He has also embraced technology by piloting a digital curriculum based on state standards for each of his classes. All material is delivered by laptops and the internet. Students access information from class web pages and complete work electronically. Tonsoni says meeting the students at their point of interest is very important to achieving success.
  • Carey Munoz, ICP and Chemistry teacher at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis: The 2010 Wayne Township Teacher of the Year is described by her principal as a "teacher leader" in the science department who creates project-based learning units that are used by multiple teachers. Munoz's passion is developing innovative activities and projects that engage even the most challenging students. Her classroom includes tasks that promote literacy and labs that encourage questioning and inquiry. She impacts her own classroom as well as many others by mentoring other teachers in her department.
  • Ellen Haury, teacher of multi-aged classes for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade gifted students in the M.S.D. of Washington Township in Indianapolis: Haury helped create and lead the elementary gifted and talented COMPASS program and is helping to develop requirements needed for the districtwide International Baccalaureate initiative in Washington Township. Haury's classroom experiences are designed to inspire students and encourage them to continue a creative search for knowledge throughout life. She writes curriculum in all areas, but specializes in writing literature discussion guides. Each year her third grade Writer's Workshop students write their own book modeled on a unique picture book.

Since 1997, superintendents and principals from around Indiana have nominated teachers for the Armstrong Teacher Educator award 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 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 about the Armstrong program is available at