The Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI) of Northern Arizona recognized four award winners and eight runner-up winners who received a total of $18,000 in cash awards from citizen donors who support education, the largest single award for excellence in education in Arizona.
For Immediate Release: 5/6/2015 | PDF of Press release HERE
SEDI Announces 2015 Teacher Awards
$18,000 in Awards for Excellence
The year 2015 is turning out to be a banner year for education in Northern Arizona. In schools across the region, teachers are becoming more creative in their determination to help children learn. They are incorporating the principles of education for sustainability to prepare the leaders of tomorrow to deal with the world they will soon take over. SEDI, the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative of Northern Arizona, recognizes those teachers who help their students excel. This year, four award winners and eight runner-up winners will receive a total of $18,000 in cash awards from citizen donors who support education, the largest single award for excellence in education in Arizona.
“This year brought SEDI the most applicants in the six-year history of the awards program,” said Eric Marcus, SEDI executive director. “Our team of expert judges were hard put to select the best from 35 outstanding teacher-led programs. The way the children were able to combine Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math into valuable real-world experiences is both impressive and heartening.”
Teachers Katie Butterfield and Tim Begley of Killip Elementary School receive one of the SEDI Teacher Awards for Sustainable Curriculum honoring excellence in creative, experiential learning. Teachers will be honored at a special event hosted by SEDI at the 1899 Bar & Grill on May 14.
The programs judged to be the best for 2015 are:
Katie Butterfield and Tim Begley of Killip Elementary School for their 5th and 2nd Grade “Buddies Garden” Projects
Todd Saunders of Flagstaff Junior Academy for his “Student Climate Change Summit
Susan Lynn Brown of Northland Preparatory Academy for her “Ecology by Inquiry” projects for 7 th graders
Russell Randall of Coconino High School for his “Transition from School to Work” Program
The projects were judged for their innovative approaches, the actions taken, real-world applications, and sustainable outcomes. The projects had to demonstrate practical application that empowers action at the local level while aligning with the Arizona Department of Education Standards. Each winning teacher receives a check for $2,500 as a thank you for their leadership.
While these award winners were outstanding, there were many others that also deserved recognition. This year, thanks to two additional generous donations, SEDI is able to offer eight runner-up awards of $1,000 each. These exceptional educators include: Lisa Hirsch of West Sedona School; Sarah Fix of Knowles Elementary; Rachel Wang and Annika DiVittorio of Sturgeon Cromer Elementary; Kim Demoney of Oak Creek School; Gail Pereira, Erin Hermanson, Ashley Visitacion of Bradshaw Mountain Middle School; Jenna Samora of Sinagua Middle School; Amanda Berman and Maggilee Loritz of Coconino High School; and Leigh Carter of the Verde Valley School.
The teachers will be properly recognized and feted at an event on May 14 th at the 1899 Bar & Grill in Flagstaff, thanks to a generous donation by W.A. Franke School of Business. “We wish we could do more for all the hard-working, under-appreciated teachers in Arizona,” said John Neville, former head of the SEDI Education Team. “Our children are our future, and their teachers help them into the world we’re creating for them. Today, children need all the help they can get, and these creative teachers are going well above and beyond to provide learning experiences that prepare them to deal with the challenges they will face.”
SEDI is proud to offer such an important program that encourages and recognizes the development and implementation of innovative, multidisciplinary educational approaches that instill in students the importance, value and practicality of sustainability. It is essential to preparing the leaders of tomorrow.
The Teacher Awards for Sustainable Curriculum began as the brain-child of Lynn and Wayne Fox. Lynn has retired from teaching middle school in Flagstaff and Wayne is now the Assistant Dean at the W.A. Franke School of Business at Northern Arizona University. As Lynn recalled, “The idea for the awards came while we were out walking and trying to think of ways to recognize teachers for their special efforts in the classroom. I know how difficult it is to provide today’s students with a great education when schools are so terribly underfunded. When we decided to step up and finance the fledgling program, we never dreamed it would become so successful so quickly.”
The awards are open to teachers in Apache, Coconino, Navajo and Yavapai Counties and are divided into four grade categories: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth, sixth through eighth and high school grades nine through twelve. The purpose of the awards is to recognize development and implementation of innovative educational approaches that instill in students the impo tance, value and practicality of local environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability. As such, they mirror the economic development mission of SEDI in Arizona.