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Dec 24, 2014 by


Michael F. Shaughnessy and Delia Stafford

Every year since 2005, website owner, Jimmy Kilpatrick, has provided the education communities and beyond, to nominate educators that are making a difference for the children and youth of America. This is an important opportunity for individuals all across the states to share the work and diligence of those who have new ideas as well as individuals who are maintaining work that has proven to be successful for both public and charter schools.

As collectors and writers of the nominees outstanding information, it has been inspiring to note that education in America is shaping our future. Educators continue to provide the best information for superintendents, principals, teachers, and the host of those employed and work daily in the 15,000 school districts across the states.  Universities provide endless training in an effort to keep hope alive for the education world as we move towards a new year, 2015 and beyond.

Sincere congratulations to all of the individuals named as Upton Sinclair winners for 2015. As we move forward, we hope that the winners will continue their efforts and encourage our education colleagues to NEVER GIVE UP! The children and youth being served deserve nothing less than the best there is to offer!!.

Terry Grier became the Houston Independent School District’s superintendent of schools after a unanimous vote of the district’s Board of Education in September 2009. Under his watch, HISD’s graduation rate has increased to its all-time high (81.7 percent). Scholarship dollars offered to HISD seniors have increased from $51 million to $186 million. And the number of students scoring three or higher on Advanced Placement exams has increased by 45 percent, from 4,915 to 7,106.

Dr. Grier is widely recognized for his leadership in turning around failing schools. The district’s Apollo 20 program has received state and national recognition—effectively eliminating the math achievement gap in Apollo elementary schools and reducing it by one-half in Apollo middle and high schools. He is committed to placing an effective teacher in every HISD classroom and an exemplary principal in every school. To help ensure this, the district’s teacher and principal evaluation models contain indicators of student success.

“Children First” is the ongoing mantra with Dr. Grier’s leadership. Nothing could be more important than his never ending search for appropriate data that will ensure that every student has an opportunity to reach the goal of finishing their education with some promise of a decent future and a life worthwhile. School districts in every state are shaping the lives of the children and youth of America. Having great leaders can and will always make the difference for the 15,000 school districts in our nation.

For the school year 2014, Dr.Grier was recognized as the National Educator of the Year, so deserved , with the major accomplishments under his leadership. Upton Sinclair would be overjoyed with his nomination for the great work he has done during his life long career dedicated to helping others. May he continue from now until!!! ds

Paul E. Peterson, Michael Henderson and Martin R. West share the first place award for their book “ Teachers Versus the Public “ What Americans Think About Schools and How to Fix Them”. This book succinctly summarizes some of the issues impacted American education. The disconnect between teachers and the public, teachers and the unions, teachers and their colleagues is worthy reading.

First Lady Barbara Bush It is an honor and privileged to declare one of America’s “first ladies” as a true educator, making a difference for the vulnerable population of our nation. Children are our future, and ensuring education for all is paramount to their success.

In the quarter-century since then-First Lady Barbara Bush made literacy her cause, creating the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, thousands of Americans have been empowered to succeed through acquiring the simple tools of reading and writing. Her emphasis on family literacy — parents and their youngsters learning and achieving together — has addressed both the societal problems of 30 million illiterate adults in the U.S. and the struggles of public education to teach youngsters to read. Her Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has tackled the massive problems of illiteracy in Houston, Texas, through publishing “A Blueprint for Community Action” and supporting literacy efforts in early childhood education, public schools, and community organizations. The foundation’s commitment to Houston ISD’s “Read Houston Read” volunteer program with first-graders at more than 50 campuses has been critical to the launch of this effort, a companion to the district’s Literacy By 3 movement to have every child reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Mrs. Bush’s vision of the American Dream is clear: “If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.”

She is to be commended for her never ending efforts to place the education of America’s children and youth as an ongoing priority! An Upton Sinclair winner indeed! ds

Yong Zhao has contributed in many spheres to education over the past decade. His current book “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon“ examines the role that China and the Chinese education plays in the world. He keenly dissects the American, and Chinese educational system and offers his insights as to the good and the really bad about each system. He is not afraid to criticize what America is doing in terms of authoritarian testing, nor is he fearful of saying that the testing mania crushes, creativity, cooperation, and cordiality.

Christopher Arnold and Tracey Baker for their book “ Becoming Neet: Risks Rewards and Realities “. The book addresses the issue of marginalized individuals in England who are not in education, employment or training.

Karen Nave, Education Leader Rio Salado Community College. Alternative Certification at it’s best, resides in the schools of education, service centers, school based programs now exist across 42 states. One such program is serving school districts very well is the Rio Salado Community College Program, Tempe, Arizona . Karen Nave is the director of one such program and provides training to college graduates fifteen months of training prior to entering the classroom to teach. She has been an educator for over 30 years being a secondary and middle school classroom teacher, and an elementary principal. Recently , she decided to pass the baton to the next generation of teachers by training teachers.  

Rio Salado College, Tempe, AZ. has provided a venue to enhance her career choice to help manage a National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Scholarship grant.  Since the grant’s inception in the fall of 2011 twenty-five scholars have been recruited and are in various stages of the program.  Our first cohort is in the classroom for their second year and on their way to successfully inspiring and engaging math or science students.  Five scholars just completed their student teaching this semester and will be certified by January.  Several of these scholars already have teaching positions starting in January. Next fall 5 more scholars are on track to be certified.  It is joy to see STEM professionals with industry experience take their content expertise and life applications to Arizona’s classrooms to raise up the next generation of mathematicians and scientists! 

A great program, a leader with commitment , supported by NSF, one that has the potential to ensure that teachers are available that have finished a program with the much needed math and science knowledge; so needed across America. Karen Nave is an example of what can be accomplished when great ideas and hard work make a difference for the children and youth in her state and beyond! ds

James Webb for his book on Gifted Kids. His book “ Searching for Meaning “ is truly one of those books that comes along once every ten years. Filled with insight, purpose, meaning, motivation, encouragement, and assistance for parents, and teachers of gifted kids, his book is a shining beacon of light during this past year.

Alice Linahan Advocate for Securing the Best of Education Policies. Alice is a wife and mother of three school children; she lives in Argyle, Texas. She is working for a better future for our country and the future of her own children that she has dedicated herself to the cause.  She and her family have sacrificed financially and personally to make it possible for Alice to attend national meetings to network with anti-Common Core/APUSH groups. She also has gone out to “train boots on the ground” in which she travels around the state in her own car and talks to town hall groups – small and large.

As a volunteer, Alice has worked tirelessly to inform grassroots citizens about the obstacles of Common Core and the new revisionist AP U. S. History Framework; the intrusiveness of the data mining of children’s personal and family information; the importance of participating in public forums; and the significance of adhering to the U. S. Constitution.  Alice is the common man’s voice of reason, and she is very deserving of recognition for her efforts to bless America’s children with a traditional, quality education.  

She is the moderator and has honed her skills to know how to use the social media to get key information out to the public all around the country. Podcasts are a great tool because people can listen to the archived shows any time, any place on their iPhones or iPads.  Her program has had upwards of 28,000 listeners over the last months ,2014. Further, she was the organizer and moderator for the #CANiSEE Solutions Conference in Austin (June 20 – 21, 2014).

This is a link that will give you more information about Alice Linahan, an educator , and Upton Sinclair winner!

Yong Zhao plays in the world. He keenly dissects the American, and Chinese educational system and offers his insights as to the good and the really bad about each system. He is not afraid to criticize what America is doing in terms of authoritarian testing, nor is he fearful of saying that the testing mania crushes, creativity, cooperation, and cordiality.

Robert Nasson has served as Executive Director of the National History Club since March 2002. Since then, chapters in 44 states have joined the National History Club, and there are over 15,000 student members. The NHC was founded to encourage the reading, writing, discussion and enjoyment of history among secondary students. Mr. Nasson is a graduate of Wesleyan University (CT) and received a certificate in entrepreneurship from Boston University’s School of Management. His hard work, effort and energies have earned him one of this year’s Upton Sinclair Awards and he should applauded for his work!

Previous Upton Sinclair Award Winners:

2005: Gerald Bracey, Nicholas Colangelo, Elaine Garan, Martin Haberman, Jonathan Kozol, Peter and Pam Wright, Reid Lyon;

2006: John Stossel, Jan and Bob Davidson, Peyton Wolcott, Fred Baughman, M.D., Will Fitzhugh, Joel Turtel, Bernard Gassaway, Ned Davis, Her Highness Sheikah Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, “All the Children of the World”;

2007: Sean Hannity, Don Meyer, Ron Clark, Frank Wang, Harry and Rosemary Wong, Tracey McGrady, Dr. Eldo W. Bergman, Queen Rania of Jordan, Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, Ph.D., G. Gbaanador, MD, FACS, FICS, Bill Cecil,  Here’s to the Upton School Principals of America;

2008: Harold V. House, Kathleen Chamberlain, Dee Alpert, Kevin Donnelly, Dona Matthews, Ph.D., Aisha Ussery, Collin Hannaford, Andrew Rotherham, Jim Zellmer., JoAnn Collins;

2009: E.D. Hirsch, Jay Mathews, John Goodlad, Billy Reagan, Geoffrey Canada, Frerick Hess Jay Hartling;

2010: Tom Watkins, Marlena Vaughn, Susan Ohanian, Dr. Marion Blank, Neal McCluskey, Ernest Boyer (Posthumously), Mr. Pierre Fignole, Chris Woodhead, Diane Ravitch, Ph.D.

2011: C. M. Rubin, Tavis Smiley, Joe Nathan, Ann Thompson, James Webb, Kiernan Egan, Professor Hani Q. Khoury

2012: Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, CT , individuals, who gave their lives for their pupils and in the service of education individuals, who gave their lives for their pupils and in the service of education. First responders for their courage and on-going assistance in the little town where Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, CT , took a worldwide human race to its knees. Bless Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts.

2013: Donna Garner, William Korach, Alan Singer, Bror Saxberg, Rick Hess, Paul Horton, Antoinette Tuff, Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D., Dr. Valerie Hill-Jackson

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