2000 All-USA Teacher Team

Posted on: Thursday, October 12, 2000

Isle tech teacher recognized nationally

Advertiser Staff

Students at Nu'uanu Elementary call their technology teacher "Mr. Magic Man." Kelvin Chun has worked magic with the school computers, but he's also the real thing: a nationally award-winning magician complete with black tuxedo, white gloves and a rabbit.

As well as teaching students from kindergarten to sixth grade how to use technology to succeed in today's high-tech world, it's not uncommon for Chun to mesmerize them with tricks that teach concepts such as geometry and symmetry.

USA Today announced today that Chun is one of its 24 outstanding teachers in the nation.

It is the first time a Hawai'i teacher has been recognized in the three-year-old competition.

Under principal Eleanor Fujioka, Nu'uanu Elementary has always pushed the technology barrier. But Fujioka said Chun took that a step further when he arrived in 1998.

The school uses its computer and technology lab as a support for other classes - they go there to research class projects and create multimedia reports that blend text, graphics, animation and audio and video.

Through the school's Technology Club, Chun also trains students to become the tech supports for classroom teachers.

"I want to prepare them for the future and a multimedia society because that's what they're growing up with," Chun said.

Chun also introduced a Friday morning school broadcast with a cast of students, teachers and parents who report on school news, class projects and what's for lunch.

And it was Chun who insisted that even the kindergartners get involved in the broadcast - they're now the school's weather boys and girls.

Chun has an easy going manner with his students and sits on a kid-size wooden chair when he talks with them.

His balloon sculptures are another student favorite. He keeps a drawer full of colorful balloons and can twist up kids' favorite characters in minutes.

His innovative and approachable teaching also helped Chun become last year's Honolulu District Teacher of the Year.

Chun travels to Arlington, Va., this week for a recognition ceremony, where he will receive $2,500 for his school.

From Honolulu to New Haven, Conn., and elementary to high school, here

are the 17 individuals and three instructional teams named to USA

TODAY's 2000 All-USA Teacher First Team. As representatives of all

outstanding teachers, they each receive $2,500 for their schools.

Kelvin Chun

Nu'uanu Elementary School, Honolulu


Years teaching: 18

Nominated by: Eleanor Fujioka, principal

Works with teachers and staff to use ever-changing media lab for

project-based learning; school recognized nationally for its technology

use. Developed electronic portfolio system for all 400 students,

recording writing, multimedia work, year-by-year process. Helped develop

Project A'o like o Nu'uanu, in which second-graders research community's

history, culture, geography with Internet, field research, oral

histories for multimedia presentations. An award-winning magician, he

mesmerizes students with tricks that teach concepts like geometry and

symmetry; nicknamed "Mr. Magic Man." Advises technology club, in which

students produce live weekly video broadcast for school, maintain Web

site (www.nuuanu.k12.hi.us), serve as tech support for teachers. Makes

traditional Asian kites to teach state weather conditions. Keeps a

drawer of balloons to whip up balloon sculptures. Established a course

for high school students to learn from him, then help teach elementary

students. Says one of the best things he's ever done was return to the

classroom after working at the state and district level. Perches on a

kid-size wooden chair to talk with students. Views technology as

essential, not enrichment: "I want to prepare them for the future and a

multimedia society because that's what they're growing up with."

For Release



EMBARGO UNTIL AMs October 12, 2000

WASHINGTON -- USA TODAY named 24 winners to its third annual

All-USA Teacher First Team, honoring them as representatives of outstanding

teaching in our nation's schools. The 2000 First Team includes 17

individuals and three teams of teachers grades K-12.

The teachers will attend an awards luncheon at USA TODAY

headquarters in Arlington, Va., on October 13. The First Team teachers will

receive a trophy and a $2,500 cash award for their school.

"These teachers were selected for their abilities to advance

students' knowledge and make differences in people's lives. We are proud to

recognize these outstanding teachers who inspire us all," said USA TODAY

Editor Karen Jurgensen.

Following are the 24 First Team winners:

* Lisa J. Arnold

Riverview Elementary School, Sioux City, Iowa.

* Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Bigney

DuBois Area Middle and High School, DuBois, Penn.

* Harvey Burniston, Jr.

Johnson County Vocational School, Mountain City, Tenn.

* Kelvin YS Chun

Nu'uanu Elementary School, Honolulu, Hawaii

* Michael Stephen Comeau

Waller Elementary School, Bossier City, La.

* Norman Conard

Uniontown High School, Uniontown, Kan.

* Shawn Eric DeNight

Miami Edison Senior High School, Miami, Fla.

* Beverly G. Gallagher

Princeton Day School, Princeton, N.J.

* Joseph (Jay) B. Gaskin, III (now living in Asheville, N.C.)

Richmond Senior High School, Rockingham, N.C.

* Marge Christensen Gould

Catalina High Magnet School, Tucson, Ariz.

* Judy H. Gulledge

Northside Middle School, Norfolk, Va.

* Floyd T. Holt (retired June 2000)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, Hyde Park, N.Y.

* Thomas Edward Lynch

Oshkosh West High School, Oshkosh, Wis.

* Teresa (Terry) Nelson

Muncie Central High School, Muncie, Ind.

* Susan Stem Price

Leggett Elementary School, Akron, Ohio

* Luis Recalde

Vincent E. Mauro Elementary School, New Haven, Conn.

* Karen Lord Rutter

Loganville High School, Loganville, Ga.

* "Auch/Ortiz Team"

Laura Auch

Maureen Ortiz

Phoenix Alternative High School, Cupertino, Calif.

* "School on the River Team"

Matthew Anderson

Debra Buswell

Michael Johnson

Longfellow Middle School, LaCrosse, Wis.

* "Botticelli Blue Team"

Margaret C. (Chris) Collier

Mary T. (Terry) Cook

Millennium Middle School, Sanford, Fla.

The First team was selected by a panel of judges from nominees from

across the country. Teachers could be nominated by school administrators,

students (past or present), students' parents, colleagues or family members.

Teachers were then asked to explain their teaching philosophy and their

approach to achieving success.

Criteria for the All-USA Teacher Team were developed in consultation

with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, National

Middle School Association, National Association of Elementary School

Principals, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the

National Education Association.

The 2000 All-USA Teacher Team final judges were:

Carol Antes, 1998 All-USA Teacher First Team

Jack Berckemeyer, National Middle School Association

Fred Brown, National Association of Elementary School Principals

John Butterfield, National Education Association

Gene Carter, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Tina Cross, 1999 All-USA Teacher First Team

Penelope Earley, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

Dick Flanary, National Association of Secondary School Principals

Mary Hatwood Futrell, The George Washington University

Gary Galluzzo, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Tim McDonough, American Council on Education

Robert Thornton, Housatonic Community College

For more information on these winners as well as the second- and

third-team members, see the Thursday, October 12 editions of USA TODAY or

log on to www.usatoday.com.

USA TODAY is the nation's top selling newspaper. It is published via

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Inc., group of television stations.

# # #


Steve Anderson, Director/Communications Heidi Henderson, Manager/Media



1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22229 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA






Classroom vision makes learning grow

By Tracey Wong Briggs, USA TODAY

Norman Conard teaches diversity and tolerance at an overwhelmingly white

Kansas high school by having students produce multicultural history

projects. Lisa Arnold uses music to bring cultural harmony to an Iowa

elementary school experiencing an influx of immigrants. And Harvey

Burniston Jr. teaches students new ways to farm in a Tennessee town

where the tobacco market is shrinking.

In educating students, Conard, Burniston and Arnold also are changing

their communities. And they are among the 20 educators named to USA

TODAY's third annual All-USA Teacher First Team as representatives of

all outstanding teachers. The 17 individuals and three instructional

teams will receive trophies and checks for $2,500 for their schools

Friday at USA TODAY headquarters in Arlington, Va. Forty more educators

are named to the Second and Third teams.

"We honor these teachers for their vision, creativity and ability to

inspire the best in their students," says USA TODAY Editor Karen

Jurgensen, who will present the awards. "We recognize that their work

changes society for the better, one student at a time."

Winners were selected from hundreds of nominees by two panels of

educators. First Teamers teach in wide-ranging situations, from Beverly

Gallagher, who nurtures third-grade poets at Princeton Day School, a

prep school in New Jersey, to Shawn DeNight, who views the student

newspaper he revived as a beacon of literacy for Miami Edison High,

which has the highest percentage of limited-English-proficient students

in Florida.

What unites First Teamers is their ability to transform students into

lifelong learners. And in educating students, First Teamers ultimately

improve their communities:

Burniston is considered the catalyst in turning Johnson County

Vocational School's agriculture program into a hub of long-term economic

development in Mountain City, Tenn. Students harvest 200 pounds of

hydroponic (no-soil) produce a week and 25,000 pounds of fish a year.

"To try to change something, you've got to educate everybody," he says.

"But it starts with young people."

Conard's Uniontown (Kan.) High School students not only win national

acclaim for their films and drama performances, but also form lasting

friendships with their subjects. Last spring, the widow and daughter of

civil rights martyr Bill Moore journeyed from Pennsylvania to rural

Uniontown for the graduation of two students who dramatized his story. "

People are being changed in our community, and the students' lives are

being changed, too," Conard says.

Arnold's students in Sioux City, Iowa, learn about other cultures by

turning coffee cans into steel drums, PVC pipes into Australian

didgeridoos and mailing tubes into South American rain sticks. At a

school that shifted from 5% to 52% minority in five years, playground

soccer teams no longer form by race, Arnold says. Now, the only

prejudice she sees is when new children come in. "Sometimes they aren't

used to different cultures and don't know how to interact."

By any means Arnold isn't the only First Teamer to embrace the challenges that

immigration, poverty and language differences bring to their schools.

Miami's DeNight and elementary school teachers Michael Comeau and Luis

Recalde combine uncommon energy, relentlessly high expectations and

active learning to help students beat the odds.

Comeau's fourth-grade classroom is a blur of hands-on projects, service

learning activities and field trips, but his students also manage to

read four times as many Accelerated Reader books as any other class at

Waller Elementary School in Bossier City, La. "There's a way to reach

everyone," Comeau says. "You just have to be creative."

In New Haven, Conn., Recalde started soccer teams and gardens to foster

unity and civic pride among the black and Hispanic students at Vincent

E. Mauro Elementary School. An immigrant from Ecuador himself, he uses

every opportunity to help his students, drawing on his Yale fellowship

with the Peabody Museum to bring microscopes, specimens and even lab

coats to his classroom.

The Peabody's Laura Fawcett recalls asking Recalde why he takes on so

much while he's stretched so thin: "He said, 'Because I want my students

to have every opportunity. They're down one at least.'"

Back from the brink

Three First Team members have gained renown for their success at dropout

prevention. Their approaches vary, but all involve massive doses of


Teaming allows Maureen Ortiz and Laura Auch of Phoenix Alternative High

in Cupertino, Calif., to bolster a highly structured environment with

perpetual encouragement for students who often lack both, they say.

The Botticelli Blue Team of Margaret Collier and Mary Cook used

student-directed units infused with art to reach the bottom fourth of

the class at Millennium Middle School in Sanford, Fla. Working around a

single theme, their self-described "dog-and-pony show" helped spark

students' interest and self-worth.

Marge Christensen Gould's LEARN Center at Catalina High Magnet School in

Tucson relies on community mentors to guide students through a

self-paced program incorporating reading, writing, computers and

workplace skills. "These kids are so used to being put down," Gould

says. "When they get confidence from achieving things they set their

minds to, they really blossom."

Hands-on learning

In one way or another, all First Team members employ hands-on learning,

having their students learn to do and do to learn:

Kelvin Chun has students as young as kindergarten help produce a weekly

video broadcast, create multimedia portfolios and do computer research

at Nu'uanu Elementary in Honolulu.

The School on the River, an interdisciplinary team at Longfellow Middle

School in La Crosse, Wis., turns the mighty Mississippi into a powerful

learning experience. Debra Buswell, Michael Johnson and Matthew Andersen

(along with Marie Torres, added this year) have students complete

research projects and collect baseline data for a U.S. Geological Survey

study on a drawdown of the river.

Karen Lord Rutter teaches early childhood education by having students

run a preschool at Loganville (Ga.) High. Students design everything

from lessons to lunch menus and quickly learn whether they're cut out

for teaching.

Teresa Nelson of Muncie (Ind.) Central High has the newspaper staff dig

into such serious issues as teachers' contract negotiations. Principal

Dick Daniel credits the think tanks and mini-town-hall meetings the

newspaper staff held for helping get the school off academic probation

last year.

"This is real, and it's serious," says Nelson, who was fired from her

first journalism teaching job 21 years ago over freedom of the student

press. "What they do does make a difference."

Both Betty Bigney and Floyd Holt have engaged students in major projects

such as building robots and using lasers. For Bigney, who teaches gifted

middle and high school students in DuBois, Pa., hands-on projects are

the most natural way to turn students used to sitting quietly and

getting A's into active learners. For Holt, they're the ticket to

reaching everybody.

"A parent is not sure how to react when a child comes home from school

with tales of dropping bowling balls out the windows and shooting

rockets in the athletic fields," says Judith Walsh, parent of three of

Holt's physics students at Franklin D. Roosevelt High in Hyde Park, N.Y.

"But it worked."

Students first

Whatever the means, First Teamers teach individuals, not subjects.

After winning $80,000 in grants to buy computers and graphing

calculators for Richmond Senior High in Rockingham, N.C., Joseph Gaskin

III developed Math, Model and Make, in which students attack a physics

problem as a math problem, as a computer model and as a physical

experiment. Teaming lab partners of different learning styles helps them

learn and respect their strengths, Gaskin says.

Science department chairman Judy Gulledge was instrumental in

integrating Chesapeake Bay studies across the curriculum so successfully

that in Norfolk, Va., Northside Middle School is known as "the Bay

School." But faced with 15 non- and low-level readers last year,

Gulledge got the seventh-graders scheduled in one class, took special

training and taught them to read. "It had to be done," she says .

And Susan Stem Price has been instrumental in developing a system in

which students have individualized goals monitored by electronic

portfolios. As a member of the school district's Strategic Planning

Committee, the Leggett Elementary teacher is training teachers

throughout Akron, Ohio.

Ultimately, teaching the way First Teamers teach takes vision,

creativity, skill -- and staggering amounts of time. Speech and drama

teacher Thomas Lynch pulls up in the Oshkosh (Wis.) West High parking

lot at 5 every morning and often doesn't leave until 9 at night . Late

in his fourth decade of teaching, he has yet to take a sick day.

"I want school to mean more than just work," he says. "It is supposed to

be an experience."

Reported by Laura Bly in Sanford, Fla.; Eric Bradley in Oshkosh, Wis.;

Mary Bustamante in Tucson; Larry Copeland in Loganville, Ga.; Ronda

Cornelius in Uniontown, Kan.; John Davis in Hyde Park, N.Y.; Brandy N.

Evans in Bossier City, La.; Robin Gibson in Muncie, Ind.; Cathy Lynn

Grossman in Miami; Charisse Jones in New Haven, Conn.; Alice Keesing in

Honolulu; Anita Manning in Princeton, N.J.; Mary Beth Marklein in La

Crosse, Wis.; Yalinda Moore in Akron, Ohio; Dan Vergano in DuBois, Pa.;

Brenda Wade Schmidt in Sioux City, Iowa; Elizabeth Weise in Cupertino,

Calif.; and Tracey Wong Briggs in Norfolk, Va., and Mountain City, Tenn.

From Honolulu to New Haven, Conn., and elementary to high school, here

are the 17 individuals and three instructional teams named to USA

TODAY's 2000 All-USA Teacher First Team. As representatives of all

outstanding teachers, they each receive $2,500 for their schools.

Lisa Arnold

Riverview Elementary School, Sioux City, Iowa


Years teaching: 21

Nominated by: Lemoyen Hunter, principal

Teaches multicultural appreciation through music, the universal

language, at a school experiencing an influx of immigrants from many

nations; half the students speak English as a second language. Formed

Multicultural Music Instrument Factory, in which students make

instruments from cultures they study. Wrote grants to bring in musicians

from many cultures as artists-in-residence. Founded, hosted Project

Worldsong, a partnership of elementary schools across the nation to

share writings, photos, cassettes of multicultural music from their

areas. Started "science of steel drums" class involving hands-on study

of sound, Caribbean culture, coffee-can steel drum construction,

performance. Founded Riverstomp, a street percussion group using found

objects like garbage can lids. Incorporates dancing and movement into

classes: "I just try to avoid at all costs just standing there and

singing." Uses martial-arts-like colored string "belts" to reward

proficiency at the recorder. "I never thought I'd find all these

cultures in Iowa," she says. "It's exactly what I want to do."

Betty Bigney

DuBois (Pa.) Area Middle and High School

Gifted, grades 6-12

Years teaching: 29

Nominated by: Shawna Grim, middle school assistant principal

Stresses hands-on learning, teaches robotics, puppetry and technology

skills to 199 students in gifted program. ... Coordinates regular "laser

light shows" in which students from whole school participate. ...

Schoolwide Young Astronauts program has taken students to meet President

Clinton and talk to shuttle crew members in space. ... Had students

resurrect a weather station now used to determine snow days for school

district. ... Learned darkroom skills to teach photography; now students

practice creating holograms. Has students put on marionette shows to

teach elementary school kids about substance abuse. "I guess I'm just

hyperactive." Says nominator Shawna Grim: "She's our Indiana Jones:

Where other people see walls, she runs right through them." ... Dropped

out of teaching after first year "because the 'ideal' methods don't

work"; returned to teach her own curriculum. A pool manager and

substitute teacher, she was recruited at DuBois when teachers saw her

taking apart, fixing a pool heater. Organizes yearly cancer benefit run

and meteor-watching parties for community. "I have the best job in the

world; I get paid to come and play with the kids."

Harvey Burniston Jr.

Johnson County Vocational School, Mountain City, Tenn.


Years teaching: 19

Nominated by: Steven Gibson, colleague

Catalyst in transforming dwindling agriculture department into premier

program drawing visitors from other countries to alternative farming

center with hydroponic (no soil) plants, hanging ferns, fish. Has

students lead tours: "When you can teach, you have learned well."

Students learn farming from seed to sale, harvesting 200 pounds of

produce a week sold locally, 25,000 pounds of fish each year.

Instrumental in developing local alternatives to tobacco, a major cash

crop whose market is shrinking. Emphasizes public speaking, leadership:

"Farmers haven't gotten everything they've needed in the past because

they were too busy working and not speaking up for themselves." Had

students landscape public buildings, businesses all over town. Leads

department of six, four of whom are former students. Works with teachers

at adjacent high school to teach across curriculum; students dissect

fish in biology, calculate logarithms of pH in algebra, learn about

regulations and grants in government. "No matter what career they're

getting into, we have something in our program to help them be

successful." Covers classroom with inspirational quotes; above the

doorway is his motto: "If you choose an occupation that you love, you'll

never have to work a day in your life."

Kelvin Chun

Nu'uanu Elementary School, Honolulu


Years teaching: 18

Nominated by: Eleanor Fujioka, principal

Works with teachers and staff to use ever-changing media lab for

project-based learning; school recognized nationally for its technology

use. Developed electronic portfolio system for all 400 students,

recording writing, multimedia work, year-by-year process. Helped develop

Project A'o like o Nu'uanu, in which second-graders research community's

history, culture, geography with Internet, field research, oral

histories for multimedia presentations. An award-winning magician, he

mesmerizes students with tricks that teach concepts like geometry and

symmetry; nicknamed "Mr. Magic Man." Advises technology club, in which

students produce live weekly video broadcast for school, maintain Web

site (www.nuuanu.k12.hi.us), serve as tech support for teachers. Makes

traditional Asian kites to teach state weather conditions. Keeps a

drawer of balloons to whip up balloon sculptures. Established a course

for high school students to learn from him, then help teach elementary

students. Says one of the best things he's ever done was return to the

classroom after working at the state and district level. Perches on a

kid-size wooden chair to talk with students. Views technology as

essential, not enrichment: "I want to prepare them for the future and a

multimedia society because that's what they're growing up with."

Michael Comeau

Waller Elementary School, Bossier City, La.

Fourth grade

Years teaching: 8

Nominated by: Laurrel Oliver, principal

Expects nothing less than "120%" of every student, every day; all but

one passed most recent state mandate test (state average: 79%) at school

serving as English as a Second Language hub and drawing students from

several impoverished neighborhoods. Wrote grants to fund computer lab,

"Parknership Waller" environmental service learning program, schoolwide

arts instruction from professional artists. Had students research,

implement community recycling drive netting 42 tons of recyclables,

earning $1,100. Involves students in community service, assisting at

homeless shelter, painting homes for the elderly, making food baskets,

building butterfly gardens. Teaches with hands-on projects, using

textbooks as a reference. Spent past summer in Japan on Fulbright

Fellowship for educators. "I try to meet the needs of each of the

students in my class whether it's through hands-on projects, field trips

or experiments. Whatever it takes to grab their attention and make them

ask why." Says Diana UpChurch, Bossier Parish ESL coordinator: "He

challenges his kids to the nth degree, but the kids love and respect


Norman Conard

Uniontown (Kan.) High School

Social studies, video production

Years teaching: 25

Nominated by: Deborah Parks, former colleague

Teaches tolerance, diversity in overwhelmingly white, rural school by

having students research multicultural history projects; many win

national awards. Student film led to a reunion of Elizabeth Eckford, one

of the Little Rock Nine integration pioneers, and Ken Reinhardt, a white

student who befriended her, in an event covered by CNN. Student drama of

Irena Sendler, who smuggled Jewish children out of Warsaw ghetto in

World War II, performed as far away as New York, covered by C-SPAN, NPR;

students still write her in Poland, pass the hat after performances for

the 91-year-old. Taps technology to connect rural school to the world;

won grants for computers. allowing primary research on the Internet.

"Once they are really turned on to a subject in history, the teacher's

job is the easiest in the world." Says superintendent Chuck Shelton: "He

claims he doesn't do anything but provide them a little direction, but

he's here early and he's here late." "The students change lives; they

change attitudes. Our students are more tolerant and more understanding

of the diversity of our world than their parents and grandparents, and

these projects are a big part of it."

Shawn DeNight

Miami Edison Senior High School

English, journalism

Years teaching: 15

Nominated by: Ramona Frischman, district administrator

"Say yes, yes to everything that comes along," he preaches at a school

with facing many challenges: 60% immigrants, overwhelming poverty, 45%

student turnover. "I love an underdog. There's so much raw talent here."

Sees greatest weapon as "setting high standards for my students, and

then guiding them step-by-step toward success." Shepherds a new staff

crop of journalism students each year through publication of newspaper

rich in issues of service and interest for students and parents, from

high-stakes testing to lunch policies. Piloted computer programs,

brought new computers into his classroom. Holds Ph.D., certification

from National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. A frequent

teacher trainer, he won two National Endowment for the Humanities

fellowships and a U.S. Information Agency award to share strategies in

Russia and the Ukraine. Sponsors Edison's National Honor Society

chapter. Volunteers to teach after-school English classes for immigrants

who may be the first in their families to read in any language. "Never

sit down," he tells new teachers; runs on weekends to stay in shape for

engaging students at the county's most-improved school. DeNight can say

"No," principal Santiago Corrada says: "(He) refuses countless

opportunities to be promoted out of the classroom."

Beverly Gallagher

Princeton (N.J.) Day School

Third grade

Years teaching: 18

Nominated by: Deborah Sze Modelewski, parent and school trustee

Inspires students to approach reading time with the enthusiasm of a trip

to Disney World. Developed schoolwide Imagine the Possibilities program

that brings nationally known poets, authors and artists such as Mary

Pope Osborne to campus in the spring. Phones each student's parents

every two weeks or so to report their child's tiny triumphs, new

interests, great achievements. Frequent presenter of national workshops

for teachers; last summer initiated Weaving Words, a three-day writing

workshop for 75 teachers from as far away as Hong Kong. Invites students

from the Upper School to work with small groups in her class while she

helps students individually with math. "Poetry Partnerships" pair third-

and 11th-graders for two months of reading and writing poetry. Has each

student keep a writer's notebook to record thoughts, inspirations or

just "words that tickle your fancy." Reads every book in her classroom

so that she can discuss reading with each student. Students vie to sit

in "Author's Chair," from which they read their writing aloud. "I try to

immerse them in good literature, but I'm a classroom teacher - I love

math and social studies, too." Does item analyses of math tests to

figure out who isn't getting it so she can come up with new techniques

to teach them. Tailors curriculum to each student. Helps her students

form book discussion groups, called literary circles. Confers with each

child while the others have reading time. "Behavioral issues? I don't

see them," she says. "When kids are engaged in work they find

meaningful, those things fly out the window.

Joseph Gaskin III

Richmond Senior High School, Rockingham, N.C.

Physics, chemistry (moved to Asheville, N.C., for family reasons; still

consults at Richmond Senior High)

Years teaching: 6

Nominated by: Ralph Robertson, principal

Retired Air Force colonel was recruited through Troops to Teachers to

teach in one of North Carolina's poorest, most rural counties. Credited

with raising physics state proficiency exam pass rate from 35% to 100%

and nearly doubling chemistry scores in six years, while also increasing

enrollment. Won $80,000 in grants for computers, graphing calculators,

computer-based labs. Developed "Math, Model and Make" program in which

students solve physics problems three ways: as math problem, as a

computer model, as a physical experiment. Has students calculate how

long a Bic lighter will last. Teams lab partners with different

achievement levels and learning styles to tap synergy, maximize

cooperative learning. Deducts points from lab reports if students ask

him facile questions: "They realize there's no easy answer coming from

the teacher." Had chemistry students analyze river and stream samples

for U.S. Geological Survey acid rain study. Gives students a chance to

earn up to 90 points if they can explain what they did wrong to make an

experiment fail: "Most science is learned by mistakes." Says principal

Ralph Robertson, "He treads that delicate balance that some teachers

can't achieve: doing fun-type activities while students are learning at

the highest level possible."

Marge Christensen Gould

Catalina High Magnet School, Tucson, Ariz.

English, literacy, workplace skills

Years teaching: 26

Nominated by: Lawrence McKee Jr., principal

Her motto: "High tech, high touch (one-to-one student/teacher

interaction) high expectation." Started Literacy Education And Reading

Network (LEARN) Center 13 years ago with a grant from the Arizona

Supreme Court to help keep at-risk students out of the criminal justice

system. Makes students responsible for progress in self-paced program,

emphasizing reading, writing and computer skills, job marketability. Has

students write down personal and academic goals each week. Leads

classroom-turned-professional office by mutual respect. Students are

mentored and return at night to mentor adults to whom Gould opened the

program. LEARN Center students have 98% graduation rate, nearly 6%

higher than school at large. Started non-profit Educational ReadSources,

Inc. (www.edreadsources.com) to provide seminars and train teachers; has

published books, case study, journal articles and trained teachers in

several states. "Seeing major changes in people in a very short time is

the most rewarding part of my job." "These kids are so used to being put

down. When they get confidence from achieving things they set their

minds to, they really blossom." Says principal Lawrence McKee Jr.: "To

'Marge-It' means that a task will be accomplished quickly, profoundly,

professionally and expertly. Just ask her students."

Judy Gulledge

Northside Middle School, Norfolk, Va.

Seventh-grade science

Years teaching: 28

Nominated by: Ted Daughtrey, principal

Co-developed Success Through Synergy, integrating nearby Chesapeake Bay

and environmental studies across curriculum. Helped win $300,000 grant

to start Maritime Studies Pathway magnet, an

elementary-middle-high-school chain integrating marine science studies;

middle school students raise fish and hydroponic plants, explore role of

land use in bay ecology. Northside students raise 12,000 oysters from

spat each year to reseed bay. Facilitates annual student-organized

Chesapeake Bay Student Conference, in which Northside students teach 400

students from other schools. Faced with 15 non- and low-level readers,

she got them scheduled into one class, sought training from a specialist

and taught them to read. Took eighth-graders to a pool hall to study

Newton's laws of motion. Runs task-oriented classes that team students

by learning type; though the classroom bustles, she never has to raise

her voice. Co-founded book club to bus students to bookstore for monthly

browsing and book discussion. Takes field trips as long as three days;

overnight element helps her understand students, build relationships.

Teamed with an English teacher to have students publish oral histories

of Smith Island (bay) residents for book sold professionally. Discovered

standardized test scores shot up after some of the biggest bay projects:

"When you're doing something that authentic, the test skills are going

to take care of themselves." As a teacher, she's an artist who's

constantly perfecting her skill, says colleague Christine Capaci: "Judy

is the most authentic teacher I've ever known."

Floyd Holt

F. D. Roosevelt High School, Hyde Park, N.Y.


Years teaching: 32; retired in June

Nominated by: Agnes Laub, district administrator

Used hand-built R2D2 and girlfriend R2she2 robots, "RoboTeacher,"

Starship Enterprise model attract students to his "Classroom of the

Future," where they learned physics by building robots, a student-driven

rocket truck and a 6-foot-long carbon dioxide laser. For five years,

Roosevelt had the highest physics enrollment in the state. Principal

grant writer for more than $3 million in equipment. Enthusiasm for

hands-on physics grounded in an allegiance to high standards; served on

district standards committee. "Floyd's class provided just enough to

keep his students searching for more," says parent Judith Walsh. Spent

entire teaching career at Roosevelt, sometimes moonlighting at community

college and Vassar. Motivating students begins with self-motivation: "I

would like more people to elevate the awareness that education is the

most important thing, and to turn our teachers into heroes." Frequent

presenter on interactive physics instruction, teamed with Isaac Asimov

for robotics presentation at Long Island University. Published papers on

"Physics of Karate," "Bowling Ball Physics." In retirement, plans to

transform "Classroom of the Future" (www.spaceshipclassroom.com) into a

"Space Science Discovery Center," a tourist and educational site: "I

think now is a good opportunity for me to use all this equipment, and

all these people I know, and skills I have, to try to help others

further the cause of children. The time to really get those kids is at a

young age."

Thomas Lynch

Oshkosh (Wis.) West High School

Speech, drama

Years teaching: 38

Nominated by: Cecil Streeter, colleague

Runs programs that are the envy of the state; reigning state champion

forensics team has won 17 straight state excellence awards; drama club

has qualified for one-act-play state competition 16 times. A former Army

Reserve sergeant, he's an acknowledged motivational master: "When

students are in danger of losing touch with school, they are often

transferred to Tom's class where, more often than not, they find the

courage to succeed," says colleague Jeffrey See. Teaches the value and

power of individuality by listening intently to everything each student

says. Starting 38th year of teaching without a sick day; arrives at

school at 5 a.m. and usually doesn't leave for 12 to 16 hours. Considers

classroom a "home room," where kids can be themselves, with seniors-only

couch, signs, trophies, props, quote of the day; won't put his desk in

front because "students are the focal point." Students call themselves

"The Lynch Mob." Packs two buses for forensics tournaments; 100-member

team is 5% of student body. Calls students to attention with polite

"thank you"; ends every class by saying, "I appreciate your work. I love

you all. Have a good day." Considers it an honor when students confide

in him. Loves playing devil's advocate to challenge why students believe

what they do. Says former student Ryan Buck: "If he were to appear in

the cartoon Peanuts, I firmly believe that he would be the first adult

who actually spoke to the kids instead of just squawking at them."

Teresa Nelson

Muncie (Ind.) Central High School

Journalism, newspaper, yearbook

Years teaching: 25

Nominated by: Dick Daniel, principal

Aspired to be a journalist but took a teaching job while her husband was

in college. Fired after five years after clashes with administrators

over freedom of press issues; rehired a month later after school system

sought legal advice: "I wasn't going to let them fire me and hire

someone else who would censor the kids." Twelve years later, elected to

the school board that fired her. For the past eight years, has advised

Central High's newspaper and yearbook, consistently winning state and

national awards and producing college journalism majors. Biweekly paper

tackles weighty issues, local and national. : "This is real and it's

serious. What they do does make a difference." "It takes almost as long

to put out a crummy paper as it does to put out an excellent one."

Recruits diverse staff to ensure a variety of voices. Makes student

editors responsible for publications and for mentoring newcomers. Had

staff organize "think tanks" and "mini-town hall meetings" for students

when school's accreditation was in danger last year; principal Dick

Daniel says meetings helped the school get off probation. "It was a

great way to bring a little focus." Spent summer of 1997 interning as a

reporter for the local daily. Has taught undergraduate and graduate

journalism courses part-time and during the summer. Journeyed to Czech

Republic and Slovakia in 1999 to teach students about press freedom,

rights, responsibilities. Authored yearbook photography textbook and

released two photojournalism education videos. Says parent John Seidel:

"She is like a great general who inspires his men by connecting with

them on their own level."

Susan Stem Price

Leggett Elementary School, Akron, Ohio

Primary multiage

Years teaching: 22

Nominated by: William Atkinson, principal

Belief that children enter school at different stages of development and

often suffer in "traditional cookie-cutter (learning) formats" led her

to help school and district break molds. As charter member of district's

Strategic Planning Team, coordinates Personalizing Learning for Your

Students (PLYS) program, which focuses on children's different learning

levels and abilities. Coaches teachers across district in the PLYS

system. Instrumental in initiating key components of PLYS: the Personal

Education Plan and the Electronic Portfolio, which map out individual

education goals for students and track progress using computer profiles

and progress reports instead of traditional report cards. Teamed with

other Leggett teachers to implement multiage classrooms; now coordinates

school district's multiage program. Her goal is to "understand how kids

learn differently and deal with them at that place first to get them to

their grade level and beyond." Wrote four grants since 1997 that brought

more than $75,000 to the district, including the $35,000 Christa

McAuliffe Fellowship allowing her to study new methods, train teachers.

Price's students' motto: "I will strain my brain to learn."

Luis Recalde

Vincent E. Mauro Elementary School, New Haven, Conn.

Fourth and fifth grade

Years teaching: 29

Nominated by: Reginald Mayo, superintendent

Started school soccer teams, community and school gardens to foster

unity at impoverished school with many ethnic groups; uses gardens to

teach science, math, civic involvement. Infuses each hands-on,

interdisciplinary lesson with enthusiasm; has students applaud right

answers or a job well done. Pursuing Ph.D. at University of Connecticut.

Taps Yale University Fellowship with Peabody Museum to bring specimens,

microscopes, even lab coats to classroom. Immigrated to USA from Ecuador

in high school; learned to speak English in New York's garment district.

Held science fair workshops for teachers and often gives up vacation to

help students with science projects; several take city's top honors. As

one of the science fair founders, "It was my duty to see that things

would take root, like the plants in the garden.'' Joined forces with art

and music teachers to have students put on assemblies, productions on

Afro-Puerto Rican poetry and African mythology to help children overcome

perceived differences. Taught high school and college in New York before

coming to New Haven as an elementary teacher. Grading system includes

student self-assessment; if his scores disagree, he explains why. Says

superintendent Reginald Mayo: "Here's a guy who can interact with young

people, fourth and fifth graders, and also interact with Yale professors

and those who are alumni of Yale at the Yale Club. He has a great

rapport with all people, and it's a never-ending kind of energy."

Karen Lord Rutter

Loganville (Ga.) High School

Early childhood education

Years teaching: 21

Nominated by: Ken Prichard, former administrator

Created, teaches Early Childhood Education Program, in which high school

students run on-campus preschool, observe classrooms, serve public

school internships; those finishing 2-year program with at least a B

earn college credit. Has students direct all aspects of "Loganville

Little Learners," a half-day preschool for 12 4-year-olds, from planning

lessons, teaching, setting up field trips, designing permission slips.

Students quickly figure out whether teaching is for them; some say: " 'I

didn't realize it took 18 hours a day. This is not the job for me.' "

Has students create, update portfolio with resume, work documentation,

creative ideas file. Teaches students that when they cross "the line" -

where classroom linoleum becomes preschool's carpet - they forget their

own problems and focus on the children: "If you're having a bad day or

whatever, it doesn't matter, because once you cross that line, it's not

about you," says Brandon Wilkes, 17. Developed ECE after teaching

parenting and family life classes so useful many students recommended

they be required. Presenter at national conferences; earned doctorate in

1998. Mentors students in numerous service learning projects, including

providing free babysitting so parents can attend school meetings. "When

you watch them take what you teach them and apply it, sometimes better

than you, you just fall in love."

Laura Auch/Maureen Ortiz

Phoenix Alternative School, Cupertino, Calif.

English, social studies and personal development

Years teaching: 30 years (Auch), 31 years (Ortiz)

Nominated by: Barbara Lacerenza, former principal

Have team-taught English at voluntary alternative school since it was

founded 12 years ago; created classes in self-esteem, male

responsibility. Huge sign over blackboard says: "We believe you were

born inherently worthy." Back up highly structured environment with

constant support and encouragement. Stress appropriate behavior at all

times; classes are strict, quiet and polite. "We expect demeanor of

ladies and gentlemen," Auch says. "We're creating an atmosphere of

respect." Get hardened non-readers reading up to a novel a week. Break

down quarters into three independent lessons; students who stumble on

one haven't blown the whole quarter. Call parents to report not only

absences or tardiness, but also good progress or a job well done. Lead

16-week Communities and Cultures workshops to celebrate diversity, curb

school violence. Won state grant to expand peer program in which teen

moms speak to freshmen science classes; teen pregnancy is down almost

40% in district. Shake hands with each student at the end of the class

each day. Says Ortiz: "They have to look us in the eye or they go back

to the end of the line to try again."

School on the River

Matthew Andersen, Michael Johnson (both math/science), Debra Buswell

(language arts/social studies)

Longfellow Middle School, La Crosse, Wis.

Multiage interdisciplinary

Years teaching: 3 (Andersen), 17 (Buswell), 8 (Johnson)

Nominated by: Glen Jenkins, principal

Uses the Mississippi River as its classroom; students help U.S.

Geological Survey research plant, animal life for river drawdown study.

Program's 106 students reflect a cross-section of the school, including

learning disabled students, to draw on different learning styles.

Received $45,000 in grants this year; earlier grants bought flat-bottom

boats, canoes, kayaks, life jackets. Physical education teacher gives

lessons on water safety, canoeing. Have each student complete "capstone

project," a master's degree-like program in which each becomes the class

expert on a topic. One is studying zebra mussels, which threaten the

native fish; two others are creating materials to be used in an outdoor

classroom at the USGS. Have students keep field trip journals. Require

final research papers to include a proposal, formal paper requiring

quantitative or qualitative research and an abstract. Respond to the

river's teachable moments; when a garter snake is caught, it's brought

back to the school so its food intake and growth can be monitored. Says

Johnson: "This is a work in progress. I haven't taught the same thing

two years in a row."

Botticelli Blue Team

Margaret Collier, Mary Cook

Millennium Middle School, Sanford, Fla.

Sixth grade interdisciplinary/intensive remediation

Years teaching: 23 (Collier); 21 (Cook)

Nominated by: Marian C. Hillery, former student

Teamed for two years to teach bottom quarter of class at arts magnet

school where nearly half the students get free or subsidized lunch.

Created award-winning TIERS (Teaching Integrated Education through

Related Subject areas) curriculum to boost self-esteem, academic skills;

student-centered units include research, reading tutorial, group work,

presentations. Arts-infused classes often directed by students; an

offhand comment on rainforests led to a four-month project transforming

classroom into a jungle with enough stacked buckets and bottles to hold

100 inches of rainfall. In one year, more than half the students raised

reading levels by at least two years, while discipline referrals dropped

more than 40%. "Anything is possible if you dream big, work hard, share

the crayons and love kids," they say. Lessons frequently accompanied by

the recorded strains of Zuni flutes, soul singer Erykah Badu or

Tchaikovsky. Team-taught fifth grade dropout prevention program for two

years before moving together to Millennium Middle School; now working

with other teachers on inclusion team. Send students birthday cards and

serve as sounding boards for personal problems: "For many of these kids,

(class) is a haven and a sanctuary," Collier says. "They come and search

us out for a hug." "If you can get one hook into kids, you've got them

for life," Cook says. "For us, the arts are the hook. They're not all

going to be another Vincent Van Gogh, but they can all express


USA TODAY seeks 20 outstanding teachers, both individuals and

instructional teams, to honor as representatives of all outstanding

teachers. The 20 members of the third annual All-USA Teacher First Team

will be featured in USA TODAY in October and will be flown to Arlington,

Va., for an awards luncheon, where they will receive a trophy and $2,500

for their schools. Twenty teachers each will be named to the Second and

Third Teams.

The All-USA Teacher Team has been developed in cooperation with the

National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Middle

School Association, National Association of Elementary School

Principals, the National Education Association and American Association

of Colleges for Teacher Education.


* Any active, full-time individual teacher or instructional team not

previously named to the First Team may be nominated. Nominees may come

from any accredited school, public or private. Teams nominated as a unit

should be composed of no more than six full-time teachers who team teach

- that is, they are all assigned the same group of students and

collaborate to plan, teach and evaluate them. Teachers who team teach a

course are eligible for this recognition, but those who teach

individually but work together on special projects or programs are not.

If the team is composed of members who work both full-time and part-time

with the team, only members who work full-time with the team are

eligible for this recognition.

* Nominees must be full-time teachers in grades K-12 who hold a teaching

certificate. Preschool and pre-kindergarten teachers are not eligible

for this recognition. Nominated teams must be intact for the 1999-2000

school year.

* Each individual or team of teachers must be nominated by someone willing

to tell us in writing what the nominee has done to advance a student's

knowledge, unlock a mind or make a difference in a life. An

administrator must certify that the nominee or team members are

licensed, full-time teachers.

* Each nominee or team member must complete and sign the attached form.

Teachers may not be nominated without their knowledge.

* The nominee must explain to us in writing how the teacher/team achieves