Upton Sinclair Award Winners – 2008

Dec 20, 2008 by

The Upton Sinclair Awards is an innovative search for the heroes of American education. Our focus is always about who is doing what for the children and youth of America and around the world. We have honored education authors, doctors, and athletes, reading czars, media stars and more, all of whom have contributed to children in some significant way. Thanks for reading about our choices for the 2008 Upton Sinclair winners!

1) Harold V. House, a true and vital Upton Sinclair winner and this year, a first, we received his nomination from one of his friends who has followed his career. .

Mr. House is very special individual who has work nationwide to help those who are the least fortunate, but his good deeds have not gone unnoticed!The individual who made the request to honor the winnersaid, ” the award that you provide is the preeminent award in this area and Harold V. House is deserving of your consideration for the Upton Sinclair Award”. This nominee is a true UPTON! See Interview with Harold House at http://www.ednews.org

The individual nominating Harold House also had this to say. “He is a local educator of national prominence and clearly an identifiable public symbol of courage who invokes the shared cultural symbols of light and truth. His honesty lights a dark path, illuminating the proper course. He has certainly found his own path despite the darkness of outside pressures. During a time of increasing cynicism, recognizing our courageous leaders has never been more important. His untiring efforts have resulted in unprecedented alliances. He has aggressively workedto erase the extremely high dropout rate among minorities and troubled youth andworked vigorously to reduce suspensions and expulsions that disproportionately affect minorities He is a founding member of the South Bend Chapter of the Rainbow Coalitionand a member of the National Major Gang Task Force and the National Partnership for Youth”. This was quite an introduction, with exceptional merit! His supporter knows him well!

There is much more!!! In 2005, Mr.House was named Indiana Correctional Educator of the Year by prison officials and was also honored by NEA affiliate, the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) with the prestigious Phillip Carey Award for Human Rights in 2006. In 2007, he was the recipient of the South Bend Human Rights Award for his efforts to serve children protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Just one month later, he washonored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for leadership and courage in the depression community by Eli Lilly & Company in conjunction with the American Psychological Association. He was also named the Teacher of the Year for 2007 by the Michigan area Sam’s Club. The Indiana House of Representatives recognized him with a resolution and honored him for exemplary efforts on behalf of troubled youth, most of who are children of color.

His achievements have been chronicled in Who’s Who in America (2004, 2005, 2008) and Who’s Who Among American Educators (2006-2010) and now, Harold House has more than earned his UPTON SINCLAIR award! Welcome to the ranks of, “the best people public education has to offer”!

2) Kathleen Chamberlain is President of the East End Special Education Parents (EESEP) in New York, a not for profit parent advocacy group.She states, “Our primary goal is to teach parents how to advocate for their children who have disabilities”. The organization has been very effective in doing so. Word has it that they have been so effective, that the EESEP members are routinely ignored or chastised at the local Board of Education meetings. Further, the local district information papers written and distributed by school district administrators appear to be threatened by the efforts of EESEP. Kathleen knows that knowledge is power. Ms Chamberlain believes, “There are times when the school districts have the only power and parents of children with special needs lack power to get what is best for their children”. So many individuals in positions of power in schools want to keep it that way. EESEP’s goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen and that the children who have no voice, are served with the best resources available. Ms. Chamberlain works on behalf of children; Upton Sinclair winner!

3) Dee Alpert is the publisher of the Special Education Muckraker.com . For many in the field, she needs no introduction. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of children and youth with special needs. As a writer and advocate for accurate data and policy analysis for special education, she currently serves as a consultant to attorneys and legislators nationwide  regarding corruption and abuse in this field.  Previously she served as a leader for NOW New York State and NOW NYC, Ms Alpert serves as an Employment Discrimination Taskforce Chair, and consults for attorneys litigating complex federal court class actions in the employment discrimination. We need more UPTON individuals just like Dee Alpert! She knows her craft and takes time to share her knowledge with others via our own ednews.org. The population that she serves will always need her expertise. Upton declared!

4) Kevin Donnelly  has written, lectured, and kept watch on the “powers that be” in Australia. His book “Dumbing Down” remains a classic. Dr. Donnelly BA, Dip Ed, M Ed, and a PhD in Curriculum from La Trobe University, has been an education author, commentator and former secondary school teacher for 18 years.During 2004, he was Chief of Staff to Hon Kevin Andrews, the Commonwealth Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. His achievements include over 350 articles in Australia’s daily media (The Herald Sun, The Age, the Courier Mail, the Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald) and professional journals (the IPA Review, English in Australia, Curriculum Perspectives) along with appearances on radio and television, both statewide as well ashaving a national presence.

Currently, Dr. Donnelly is Executive Director of Melbourne-based Education Strategies (established in 1994). The company specializes in analyzing and benchmarking curriculum, project management and developing classroom resources (both print and multimedia). His experience includes working extensively in the Asia/Pacific region Lao PDR, Hong Kong, South Korea, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Malaysia and New Zealand benchmarking school curriculum and developing classroom resources.

Dr. Donnelly is a true international educator with an inclination to do what is best for children and youth.  He has devoted his life to education. UPTON SINCLAIR award for sure!! His teaching career speaks volumes! 18 years in the classroom!

5) Dona Matthews, Ph.D., for twenty-three years now, beginning in 1985, has been teaching, writing, counseling, consulting, and conducting research on behalf of gifted students. From 2003-2007 she was Director of the Center for Gifted Studies and Education at Hunter College, City University of New York, where she worked with New York City teachers on policies and practices relating to giftedness. Currently, working at the University of Toronto, her emphasis is with families and schools regarding important issues relating to gifted education. Dr. Matthews collaborated with Joanne Foster to co author Being Smart about Gifted Children: A Guidebook for Parents and Educators (2005). Current projects include The Development of Giftedness and Talent Across the Lifespan, co-edited with Frances Degen Horowitz and Rena Subotnik; The Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education, co-edited with Tom Balchin and Barry Hymer; and upcoming books with Joanne Foster and Felice Kaufmann.

Dr. Matthew’s commitment has been a singular voice for gifted kids, their development as well as their well-being. She has devoted time and energy workingon behalf of gifted children, a most worthy cause. An Upton Sinclair leader,indeed!

6) Aisha Ussery A recent article in the Houston Chronicle, written by Valerie Sweeten, highlighted Houston Teacher of the Year, 2006, Aisha Ussery. A special education teacher at Hamilton Middle School in the Houston Independent School District, she is also a dynamic dance instructor. With her extraordinary career goals and skills she was invited to South Africa to work with students interested in the performing arts. Her visitwas funded by the Department of Education of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Institute. The major goal of her visitwas designed to provide instruction to students outside of East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.The venture to South Africa gave her an opportunity observe first hand the children’s desire to learn even when there were challenges, further what she discovered during this venture, in her words, ” that student’s desire to learn overtook all circumstances and taught me patience and understanding of cultural differences”.

We would suggest that her learning curve soared to the next level. We wish that more international events were available to teacher educators. We believe that an opportunity for a teacher exchange of this magnitude, a voice for peace and social justice for all the children of the world could be delivered! We believe Ms Ussery is a true Upton Sinclair winner. Her students are the real winners!!!!ds

7) Colin Hannaford is an international Upton Sinclair winner. As we searched for more information about this gentleman, we discovered a passionate man whose major focus is mathematics/Socratic methods, and he is spreading his knowledge. Here is a brief explanation of his success.

He was a soldier at the age of 17and earneda degree in mechanical engineering in the British Army in 1967. He trained as a mathematics teacher at Cambridge University from 1975 to 1976, and began teaching mathematics in Oxford in that same year at the age of 33. Because of his background, he was selected to be a head of mathematics at one of the then twelve official European Schools of the European Union. For several years he taught mathematics exactly as he had been taught to teach at Cambridge. He was actually very successful in this manner of teaching, or so it seemed. But he soon became aware of two disturbing facts: One was that he knew – and some of his pupils also knew – that although they were all passing their exams, and eventually would pass the Bac itself, with excellent marks, most of them did not know what they were doing, or why.

After much thought and networking about how to improve teaching and learningfor ALL students, the idea of an international conference emerged for international education leaders. Thanks to the magnificent response of the Qatar Education Foundation and their willingness to fund such a conference , Qatar’s leaders of education along with other university leaders in will travel to Windsor Castle January 2009 to share ideas about education and democracy for all children. Hannaford’s presentation will highlight mathematics and the use of the Socratic Methods of teaching. A dream fulfilled.

Collin Hannaford has much to offer children and youth. His unrelenting drive to ensure children have an opportunity to learn, especially MATH via the use of Socratic Methodology is unprecedented. An Upton Sinclair winner; another example of a educator solving problems and selflessly working for others.

8) Upton Sinclair winner, Andrew Rotherham is co-founder and co-director of Education Sector, an independent national education policy think tank. He has been described as “being at the forefront of U.S. education policy”. As an author, he writes for U.S.News & World Report and the widely read Eduwonk COM. His Progressive Policy Institute’s 21st Century Schools Project, a DC based education group, has been touted as a “cutting edge” reform effort. Key to the policy Institute’s success was an effort to eliminate systemic inequities in American education and design a new system so that there would be universal access to high-quality instruction, public sector choice and customization, common academic standards, and accountability for results.

As the youngest member
of the Clinton White House team, Rotherham served as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. He managed education policy activities at the White House and advised President Clinton on a wide range of education issues. His accomplishments are numerous; member Virginia Board of Education, Board of Directors for the Indianapolis Mind Trust, Democrats for Education Reform, trustee of the César Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy in Washington, D.C., Broad Foundation and Harvard University advisory boards, National Governors Association, National Charter School Research Project,National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and the Campaign for a U.S. Public Service Academy,Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education 2008 Fellows class.The American School Board Journal says Rotherham is “one of Washington’s leading commentators on education policy.”

For sure, Mr. Rotherham, as a member of the “40 under 40” group of national leaders, will continue to be a voice for education, and who knows what his future endeavorswill provide thechildren and youth of America. With his knowledge and crusade for excellence, his presence will be of influence for now and in the future. An Upton Sinclair winner indeed! We will take notice of his continuing efforts to improve education for all children here in America and around the world. We wish him well!

9) Jim Zellmer is the driving force behind www.schoolinfosystem.org This site was formed to raise awareness of K-12 issues. It was designed to provide a forum for many views, and the site addresses curricular, governance, finance and parenting issues.Perhaps most importantly, School Information Systems (SIS) was created to “route around” the filter(s) of traditional media, which have often been limited to short, thin stories on subjects that are often complex and deep. We believe that what Jim is trying to accomplish is laudable. Education issues are often very intricate and complex and requires more than just a quick “sound bite “given to them on television.

10) JoAnn Collins is the mother of three adults and two of those adults  have disabilities. Her work to ensure her children had appropriate resources has been a life long endeavor.Ms Collins has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais Il. and was an  employee of Options Center for Independent Living in Bourbonnais Il . She  has served on several state disability advisory boards over the years and has been an educational advocate for special needs children for over 15 years.Her work with and for her own children has helped her to be successful in helping other parents navigate the special education system, which for the most part may not an easy task. 

As an author, she wrote  Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game which was released in September 2007. Recently she released an E book entitled: Behavioral Basics; 6 Easy Steps to Improving a Child’s School Behavior! The E book is intended for parents and educators, when working together can ensure that children learn appropriate behaviors, and increase their chance for lifelong success!  Helping those who need the most attention is a worthy Upton cause. Ms Collins has met the challenge!

In a time of transition in America, Education must and will change. With new leaders on the horizon, we are hopeful. Further, we would like to thank Jimmy Kilpatrick and his EducationViews.org ; together, they provide us an opportunity to learn more about education both nationally as well as internationally.

Here’s to the 2008 Upton Sinclair winners as they join the ranks of the best of the best in the education world !!!!!!!!!!!!!! The children deserve nothing less!

Ms. Stafford-Johnson is the President & CEO of The Haberman Educational Foundation, Inc. In Houston (TX). For nearly a decade, Ms. Stafford-Johnson directed the nation’s largest school district-based alternative teacher certification program in Houston Independent School District. She was twice recognized at White House ceremonies for her success in that program and her advocacy in finding good teachers for children at risk and in poverty. In addition to research interests in alternative teacher certification and teacher selection, Ms. Stafford-Johnson’s publications include urban school district-based teacher education, violence prevention, beliefs of effective teachers, student resilience, and research implementation. Ms. Stafford began The Haberman Educational Foundation in 1994 for the purpose of making visible and lasting improvements in the education of America’s 15 million diverse children in poverty.

Dr. Shaughnessy is currently Professor in Educational Studies and is a Consulting Editor for Gifted Education International and Educational Psychology Review. In addition, he writes for EducationViews.org  and the International Journal of Theory and Research in Education. He has taught students with mental retardation, learning disabilities and gifted. He is on the Governor’s Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council and the Gifted Education Advisory Board in New Mexico. He is also a school psychologist and conducts in-services and workshops on various topics.

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