Annual Educator of the Year Awards are Nominated by Fellow Educators, Administrators and Students
At Instructure, we see first-hand how educators are blazing new trails, revamping the way they teach, learning new technology and tools on the fly, and keeping students engaged both near and far. They have made their mark on education in tangible ways, supported inclusion for at-risk populations, and sparked curiosity both in and out of the classroom.
Each year, Instructure selects several outstanding educators for our “Educator of the Year” award, showcasing teachers and administrators who are going above and beyond in their classrooms. This year we received a number of impressive nominations, but have selected six inspirational educators who best demonstrate an uncommon level of dedication, love for their students, and passion for education.
In conjunction with InstructureCon 2022, we are proud to announce the Instructure 2022 Educator of the Year Award winners:
Nicole Morton - Third Grade Teacher, Lake Ridge Elementary School (Woodbridge, VA)
Having worked as an elementary educator for the past 16 years, Nicole truly knows how to spark intrinsic curiosity and create a culture of lifelong learning within all her students. Every year she inspires her students in a special way by setting high goals and expectations, making those expectations clear, and holding the students accountable for meeting those goals. Her main objective is to spark intrinsic curiosity among all students and create a culture of lifelong learning. Nicole takes learning beyond the classroom and makes connections so the content she is teaching is relevant in everyday situations.
Nicole has cleverly incorporated The Class Pet Store to manage student positive behavior, establish a class community, and reward positive behavior, creating an inviting classroom experience.
Isidro Legara, Jr. - Eighth Grade Teacher, Westridge Middle School (Orange County, Florida)
Isidro teaches at a Title-1 school composed of students with various cultural backgrounds. Being born and raised in the Philippines, Isidro understands how challenging it is to be in a new academic atmosphere. An advocate of social-emotional learning and culturally responsive standards-based teaching, Isidro wants all his students to feel safe, welcomed, loved, and accepted in his classroom.
Isidro utilized technology to more effectively reach students at all learning levels during the pandemic and after. His courses on Canvas help students learn both in the classroom and at their own pace. Three days before the start of the ‘21-’22 academic year, Isidro deftly pivoted from teaching 7th grade to fill an unexpected teaching vacancy in the 8th grade.
Ashley Jackson - Ninth Grade Teacher, Garland ISD (Garland, TX)
As an instructional technology coach, Ashley works with teachers from all departments at her campus, helping them use MasterPaths to personalize learning and utilize New Quiz data to inform remediation and extension.
A champion for accessibility, Ashley's strength lies in the relationships she builds with educators and students alike. She supports teachers as they try new things and innovate in their classroom. This willingness to experiment and walk with teachers as a servant leader extends beyond her initial campus and expands further into the district. She has been working the past few years to ensure that teachers understand how to leverage Canvas to meet the needs of all their students.
Chrystal Trapani - Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA)
As an instructional technologist with the Center for Learning and Teaching, an adjunct instructor for the Department of English at Old Dominion University and a doctoral graduate student, Chrystal works with students from every background including first-generation, veteran, and disabled students. She works tirelessly to ensure that all of her course content exceeds accessibility standards, carefully scaffolding every major assignment into small goals she knows will work best based on her students’ needs.
For example, she spent weeks building an interactive Pac Man-like activity, in her Visual Argument module, where the students work through the module to learn the course material while escaping ghosts. Also, she knows that students do their best work when examining their passions, so she requires them to work on projects that will further their intended major or career field in all of their work.
Yunlong Shao, Ph.D. - New York Institute of Technology (New York, NY)
As an assistant professor at the New York Institute of Technology Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Yunlong long ago stepped away from the "sage on the stage" approach to teaching and has been offering students real-world and hands-on learning experiences that are underpinned by top-notch teaching instincts. He has built many courses with a blend of genuine collaboration among students, authentic assessments, tireless availability and presence, and a sincere and admirable devotion to their continued success.
Yunlong offers students assignments in written format, and uses Canvas tools to record short explanatory videos, creates demonstrations of successful work, and strives to make his materials as accessible as possible using Canvas's accessibility checker and captioning tools. Showing vulnerability and a growth mindset is a key factor in engaging at-risk populations, and his students are more successful because of his willingness to do so. His indefatigable work ethic, poise, and consistency make him a teacher students can rely on well after the class has ended.
Ronald Miller, Ph.D. - Utah Valley University (Orem, Utah)
As a professor in the Strategic Management and Operations Department of the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University, Ronald is a visiting scholar with Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, bringing with him a vast resume of international work in countries such as Ghana, Mexico, India, the Philippines, Fiji, China, Tonga and more.
Ronald is known to customize and modify his course instruction so that every student can not only grasp the concept, but can also apply the principles in a real context. Potentially at-risk students regularly seek out Ronald due to his reputation asn an instructor that accommodates all students as they work toward academic excellence. Hoping to guide his students to fulfilling careers or even graduate school, Ronald always wants to know each student's trajectory and then works to give them the boost they need for long-term success..
Selecting the 2022 Winners
The Educator of the Year Awards were judged on the following criteria, with specific emphasis on adapting to hybrid and remote teaching and making learning more accessible for at-risk students:
How does this teacher redefine classroom activities based on evidence to help students meet their academic goals? (50%)
How does this educator’s classroom experience support inclusion and improve achievement for at-risk populations? (25%)
How does this educator inspire students, spark curiosity, and support student growth and achievement? (25%)
Congratulations to this year’s winners. We’re honored to be a small part of the work these educators do every day to support student growth, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.
For more information on InstructureCon 2022 or to watch sessions featuring amazing content for both K-12 and higher education teachers and administrators, register at https://www.instructure.com/events/instructurecon and enjoy the recordings online for up to a year.