Instructure Announces 2020 Canvas Educator of the Year Award Honorees and Student Scholarship Winners
SALT LAKE CITY — October 13, 2020 — Instructure today announced the winners of its 2020 Canvas Educator of the Year Awards in connection with this week’s CanvasCon Online edtech conference. Building on the success of the 2019 awards, the 2020 Canvas Educator of the Year Awards recognize outstanding educators in the United States working to embrace remote learning, prepare students for the workforce, and support student success and achievement in an evolving education landscape.
“Each winner is dedicated to providing students with engaging learning experiences wherever and however they are learning this year,” said Melissa Loble, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Instructure. “I admire their grit and determination as they navigate the ongoing changes in education and strive to strengthen their communities along the way. Congratulations to all of our winners!”
The 2020 Canvas Educator of the Year Award winners are, by category:
Andrea Fitch - Second Grade Teacher, Claremont Spanish Immersion (Arlington, VA)
While some naysayers have claimed that, “you can’t teach little ones at a distance,” Andrea has proven them wrong. She has embraced the challenge of distance learning to empower and help prepare her students for a changing world. It doesn’t matter that they are 2nd graders, that many are English language learners, that they are learning at a distance, and face various challenges and inequities at home—she reinforces positivity with her students and tells them that they can. She instills a growth mindset into her students by framing academic challenges as opportunities to learn, and believes strongly in providing personalized learning experiences that promote student collaboration. Having taught in her native country of Perú before arriving in the U.S. and starting her career as an educator, she has a strong foundation to educate students from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances.
Colleen Haag - Eighth Grade Teacher, Unami Middle School (Chalfont, PA)
Colleen consistently leverages the power of technology to enhance student learning, not only impacting the learners in her own classes but the learners across hundreds of classrooms in her work as a Building Coach as well. She works closely with special education teachers to adapt learning activities and adjust outcomes to provide personalized learning experiences and support student achievement at every level. She instills a sense of curiosity in her students through hands-on science experiments and innovative design projects. With an end goal of mastery rather than a grade, she provides students with as many attempts as they need to demonstrate their learning. But what set Colleen apart is a passion to improve and her openness to model, train, and support her colleagues, students, and their parents.
Tracey Jensen - Twelfth Grade Teacher, Churchill Fulshear High School (Fulshear, TX)
During the transition to remote learning, Tracey has gone above and beyond providing assistance to her students in preparation for their AP exams. The result is that last year, 100% of her AP Calculus BC students passed the AP exam—even though they were remote for classes during the pandemic. She offered her own time and resources to get functioning calculators for the exams. “She's one of the few teachers who not only teach us the necessary things to pass the class, but lifelong lessons as well.” said one of Tracey’s students. With a commitment to broadening students’ horizons, she combines real-life scenarios with fundamental curricula to deepen understanding and promote student mentorship that will last well after graduation.
Sean Nufer, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Chicago, IL)
Sean is an online professor with a focus on increasing student engagement, enhancing teaching and learning, and building a collaborative online community. He feels the need to explore and be creative while teaching and learning and believes the role of students today is not merely to read articles, take lecture notes, and respond to discussion prompts. Although there is a time and place for traditional learning, he believes that students today are not only consumers, but also curators and even creators of content within their fields and deserve to have hands-on experiences within their academic careers. During his time at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, he has redesigned courses that are traditionally challenging and given students an enthusiasm to learn and apply the content.
Suzel Molina, Palo Alto College (San Antonio, TX)
Suzel has been a pioneer in online learning, ensuring students showcase their academic achievements using ePortfolios to help present their skills to potential employers. Suzel takes a relationship-first approach with her students—first building trust and understanding their goals and perspectives, then adjusting the content to meet students where they are so they can get where they want to be. In addition to helping students bridge the gap between the classroom and their future careers, she has also encouraged faculty to seek online certification and has personally mentored them. To build faculty confidence in a virtual classroom setting, Suzel also built a series of Canvas templates to share with an emphasis on academic and student support resources for students.
Vivian Faustino-Pulliam - City College of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
Vivian strives for inclusivity and consistency to help minority students achieve their goals, often going out of her way to ensure every student has equitable access to learning resources. She receives praise from students for incorporating real-world examples in her accounting courses that provide context beyond the textbook. These activities have been known to shape students’ perspective of accounting methodologies behind the software and have sparked curiosity for what some students have seen as a traditionally monotonous subject. In addition to her work in the classroom, she also spearheaded the establishment of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which serves to harness and incubate ideas and develop entrepreneurship, providing students at CCSF with opportunities to network with industry leaders and bring their innovative ideas to fruition. Aside from the work she is doing at CCSF, she also uses Canvas for her volunteer work teaching students who are in refugee camps in countries such as Kenya, Malawi, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Syria.
The Canvas Educator of the Year Awards were judged on the following criteria:
- How does this educator redefine traditional classroom activities to prepare students for lifelong learning and careers?
- How does this educator’s classroom experience support inclusion and improve student outcomes?
- How does this educator inspire students, spark curiosity, and support student growth and achievement?
In addition to these educator awards, Instructure is also proud to recognize four K-12 students as the winners of its $25,000 “Note to Self” Student Scholarship Contest. Students were invited to submit a video via social media using the hashtag #CanvasNoteToSelf explaining what they would tell their younger selves about the most important lessons they’ve learned thus far in their educational journey, and how Canvas has supported that journey. Educators were also invited to nominate students by submitting a video explaining how their student has demonstrated learning an important life lesson in their academics, and how Canvas has been a part of it. The winners this year are:
- Kayla Bock, North Carolina, Video Submission
- Madeleine Lawler, Illinois, Video Submission
- Tara Lam, California, Video Submission
- Jaqueline Howard, Pennsylvania, Video Submission
Instructure helps people grow from the first day of school to the last day of work. More than 30 million people use the Canvas Learning Management Platform for schools and the Bridge Employee Development Platform for businesses. Learn more at www.instructure.com.