Instructure Recognizes Six Outstanding U.S. Educators Redefining Teaching in the COVID-19 Era
Annual Educator of the Year Awards are Nominated by Fellow Educators and Administrators, and Students
SALT LAKE CITY — Oct 4 2021 — Instructure today announced the winners of its 2021 Educator of the Year Awards in connection with this week’s InstructureCon 2021 edtech conference. The program recognizes outstanding U.S. educators working to embrace remote learning, prepare students for the workforce, and support student success and achievement in an evolving education landscape.
"Educators everywhere take on insurmountable challenges with optimism and patience, and that’s never been more true than in the past school year," said Melissa Loble, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Instructure. "Each educator we’ve selected truly excelled in an increasingly challenging environment and inspired their colleagues and students in the process. Congratulations to all of our 2021 winners!”
The 2021 Educator of the Year Award winners for North America are:
Angela Girol - Second Grade Teacher, Central Elementary School (Elizabeth, PA)
Angela Girol has taught in the Elizabeth Forward School District for fifteen years, setting a standard for redefining traditional classroom activities to help students meet their academic goals. Angela utilizes personalized learning strategies to accomplish this, creating a “Personalized Learning Time” block within her daily schedule where students can work on the skills and standards that they need assistance with or seek enrichment opportunities. With the adoption of Canvas in 2019, Angela demonstrated to her colleagues, students, and parents the power of this robust learning management system. In the district’s first year of Canvas implementation, she expressed interest in utilizing Badgr, the badging component within Canvas. Not only did she create badges that tied to second grade math standards, but she also utilized badging pathways to show students their progression of learning.
Jamie Morlock - Fifth Grade Teacher, Sam Jamison Middle School (Pearland, TX)
Jamie led the fifth grade math department to new heights during the pandemic. When the school closed down in Spring 2020, she pivoted seamlessly to designing content that was differentiated and allowed students to express their interests, creating choice with digital math menus. The broader school community is now following her lead by designing models with individualized immediate feedback on skills that students struggle with most. As a Title I school, Jamie supports at-risk populations, constantly working to improve her craft by attending professional development, starting book studies, and even checking out TikTok for recent exciting ideas or introducing fun activities like “Math Meme Monday.” She recently piloted a learning app that takes words out of math and dives deeper into conceptual understanding, which has since been adopted across the district.
Suzanne Denny - Health & Physical Education Teacher, Harry S. Truman High School (Levittown, PA)
When COVID-19 hit and schools like Harry S. Truman High School had to quickly pivot, Suzanne sprang into action, becoming a leader for her community in its transition to Canvas LMS. Not only did Suzanne change how she delivered instruction in her own classroom, she also embraced mastery paths and built fully shareable courses for her own department. As a Canvas Certified Educator, Suzanne quickly stepped up to become the tech troubleshooter and sounding board. Suzanne became the go-to person throughout the district for staff and students alike -- the Canvas guru. Colleagues describe her as a shining light through many hardships over the past year, and in the midst of everything, she introduced a new Drivers Education program for the district.
Rami Salahieh - Cyber Security, Ivy Tech Community College (Valparaiso, IN)
Rami’s passion for teaching and learning is contagious. Colleagues and students say he goes above and beyond every day, always with a smile and a desire to inspire. He regularly provides one-on-one mentoring to students, writes recommendation letters on their behalf and advises them on their long-term goals. With a rich heritage and cultural identity as Armenian, Syrian, Kurdish, and Turkish, Rami embodies an open mindedness and inclusivity to his classroom that embraces all religions, ethnicities, and genders. Known for being at the forefront of new technological and pedagogical approaches, Rami also encourages his students to lead and push the limits with technological tasks. As a result, his students earn a place at regional and nationals 3-5 times a year.
Carol Stallworth - Chemistry, Student Life Skills, Hillsborough Community College (Plant City, FL)
Carol is known to be dynamic and engaging whether she’s teaching in-person lecture courses, fully asynchronous online courses, or synchronous live courses. Knowing that online learning presents new challenges for some students, she not only provides instruction, but also uses technology to facilitate a sense of community and caring. She regularly uses the Canvas Quiz feature to ask students about their well-being and to self-assess their learning. She records lectures and then uses tools like in-video quizzing and in-video discussion to keep students engaged. In addition to teaching Chemistry and Student Life Skills, Carol is dedicated to inclusivity and equity. She’s an active part of the school’s first encounter faculty program, an advisor to the Collegiate 100 club, and a HOPE scholars’ mentor.
Lucas Myers - Human Anatomy, Physiology, Lower Columbia College (Longview, WA)
Lucas not only redefined how science should be taught at Lower Columbia College, but helped to shape the future of STEM education at 2 year colleges across the state of Washington. Prior to the pandemic Lucas had developed General Biology and Human Anatomy/Physiology courses for full online instruction and hybrid instruction. His work on innovative assessment and teaching practices has increased the success rate of the school’s pre-nursing Anatomy/Physiology students, who score 15-20% higher on the national Human Anatomy/Physiology Exam than the national average. When the pandemic happened, he was asked to work with Washington State to quickly set up STEM Communities of Practice (CoPs) for faculty across all of the Washington State Community and Technical Colleges. These CoPs had over 500 faculty participating, relying heavily on Canvas for producing, collaborating, and sharing resources to enhance student learning experience.
Selecting the 2021 Winners
The Educator of the Year Awards were judged on the following criteria, with specific emphasis on adapting to hybrid and remote teaching, and/or embracing technology in the classroom in new and exciting ways:
- How does this teacher redefine traditional classroom activities to help students meet their academic goals?
- How does this teacher’s classroom experience support inclusion and improve achievement for at-risk populations?
- How does this teacher inspire students, spark curiosity, and support student growth and achievement?
InstructureCon 2021 will take place on Thursday, October 7. Last year, Instructure held its first ever virtual conference where thousands of participants attended, with special presentations by inspiring figures in education including Sal Khan and LeVar Burton. To protect the safety of the educators and school professionals in attendance, this year’s event will once again be held online. To register visit www.instructure.com/events/instructurecon21
Instructure (NYSE: INST) is an education technology company dedicated to elevating student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today the Instructure Learning Platform, comprised of its flagship product Canvas LMS and several products serving K-12, higher education and professional education, supports tens of millions of educators and learners around the world. Learn more at www.instructure.com.