Congratulations to our winners!
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt™ is proud to announce the winners of our inaugural Education Excellence Award for private and parochial schools. These educators, nominated by their peers, have demonstrated outstanding service to their schools and students through their innovative contributions aimed at driving student achievement.
Director of Curriculum and Operations
Oaks Christian Online School, Westlake Village, CA
Over the past four years, Christy has collaborated with experts around the world to develop 45 online courses that meet nine sets of standards. She has helped the school receive dual accreditation and approvals and enacted components for academic honesty. She has worked to ensure that the online curriculum has regular opportunities for students to interact with teachers and peers, such as weekly web conferencing and monthly on-campus science labs. The result of her efforts has been the creation of a high-level online school used both in a blended environment by the school’s main campus and by fully online students around the world.
Bishop Kenny High School, Jacksonville, FL
Kristen pioneered the “flipped classroom” at her school. She creates videos for her students to watch each night, incorporating questions periodically to check for understanding. The next day she groups students according to how they performed on the video assessment and uses this differentiation to ensure each student truly masters the material. Overall, her test and exam scores are much higher than her “non-flipped” class scores from the previous year. By leading a faculty in-service, Kristen has also inspired other teachers in her school to adopt a flipped approach.
Academy at Charlemont, Charlemont, MA
Nancy prepares students for life after high school through real-life experiences and discovery of their passions. In the classroom she engages them in deep, thoughtful, and respectful conversations about tough subjects, while outside the classroom she plans day trips from their remote town in Massachusetts to help reinforce those conversations, such as a visit to Harlem after a discussion of the Harlem Renaissance. As the overall advisor for their year-long independent projects ranging from building kayaks to writing rock operas, Nancy inspires seniors to dig deep into subjects that compel them, nurturing passions that often turn into careers.
AQSA School, Bridgeview, IL
Tammie’s vision and resourcefulness has helped drive results in AQSA School. After aligning the school’s curriculum to the Common Core, she transformed the elementary grade report cards from grade based to standards based so that parents and teachers would have a clearer understanding of students’ strengths and weaknesses. Data received from periodic testing is used to drive instructional planning. As a principal in a small Islamic school funded solely by tuition and donations, Tammie finds ways to make extra resources available to students and teachers, including professional development. Through Tammie’s initiatives, 100% of seniors have matriculated into colleges and universities for the past 12 years.
Social Studies Teacher
St. John Vianney High School, Kirkwood, MO
Brandon is a highly creative teacher who pushes his students to become more collaborative and creative in the classroom. Using a gaming approach, he motivates students to go beyond basic expectations to earn “experience points” for their team. He also brings learning to life through interactive lessons. For example, to teach exploration, he has students map a water route to China and research the food and supplies needed along the way. To learn about nationalism, students create “Nationalistic Superheroes” and act out skits. Additionally, to research personal history, students create personal webpages and present them to the class.
Social Science Department Head and Teacher
V.J. & Angela Skutt Catholic High School, Omaha, NE
Mary not only makes a difference in her school and community, but also inspires students to do the same. Through a final project, seniors select a real-life society issue for which they research and form an action-plan, becoming personally involved in the process. She brings her classes to the local prison to get an up-close perspective of our criminal justice system, and requires her students to participate in a council meeting or other government activity. Furthermore, the mock trial teams that she founded and continues to cultivate have won at the state level several times, even competing at nationals.
Social Studies Teacher
Trinity High School, River Forest, IL
Barb is a role model for her peers and students. An innovator, she was the first member of the school’s Social Studies department to incorporate a SMART Board® into everyday curriculum and online accessibility to study materials during the school’s 1:1 initiative. Over her 20 years as teacher of the school’s highest level history class for 11th and 12th graders, her students have maintained more than a 90% passing rate. Her compassionate, guiding presence and academic successes have earned her recognition as Educator of the Year several times by students of Trinity High School.
Third Grade Teacher
St. James the Greater, Cincinnati, OH
Annie uses data “like a champ” to improve student achievement in her classroom and challenges her peers to do the same. She has worked to refine the formative feedback she receives from students, redefined the rubrics used to assess writing in Grades 2–8, and led the English department in determination of essential skills for Grades K–8. These efforts combined with creative teaching activities, such as reviewing song lyrics to discuss poetry, imagery, or word choice, have resulted in measurable growth in reading year after year—no small feat as she teaches the struggling readers in third grade.
The School at Columbia University, New York, NY
Dylan strives to improve student outcomes by engaging them in the full scope of the technology spectrum. He develops technology, engineering, and computer science curriculum for Grades K–8, incorporating many interactive activities. Examples include fifth grade students using 3-D modeling and printing to create real furniture objects for teachers in the school, third grade students developing math quiz video games for their peers, and sixth graders building and launch a weather balloon into the stratosphere. Dylan also advocates for technology education by publishing articles and delivering workshops on technology integration across the country and abroad.
Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction
Notre Dame High School, Belmont, CA
Anne is an avid supporter of both continuous professional development and technology integration, and she seeks to provide these opportunities to the teachers and staff she supports. She attends and presents at numerous conferences each year and then makes her learnings available to others through emails, social media, and blogging. She created the position of EdTech Instigator to provide assistance and support to faculty and staff as they integrate technology, design thinking, and project based learning. Additionally, Anne represents her school on the Bay Area Catholic Schools Online Consortium and has developed an online course.
Additional congratulations to all those nominated:
Sister Margaret Rose Adams IHM, Queen of Angels
Subhadra Glassman, The Cooper School
Christine McManus, Montini Catholic High School