The Turnaround Management Association (TMA) will present the Butler-Cooley Excellence in Teaching Award to two educators at The 2018 TMA Annual on September 27 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO.
This year’s recipients are Michelle Ellis, a high school science teacher at Hunter Huss High School in Gastonia, NC, and Sandra Kowalczyk, a middle school reading specialist from Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, WI.
Established in 2004 with a grant from the John Wm. Butler Foundation, Inc., the Butler-Cooley Excellence in Teaching Awards Program honors teachers who have demonstrated their capacity to change the outcome of students’ lives and the communities where they teach. The program is named in honor of Leslie Bender Butler and Cindy Butler Cooley, relatives of a past TMA chairman who collectively have spent more than 50 years as teachers, and recognizes the central role that education has in the life of the association.
“We’re honored to present this award to two outstanding individuals who have made a major impact both in their schools and their communities,” said Scott Y. Stuart, Esq., TMA Global chief executive officer. “These women are dedicated, driven, hard-working, and role models not only to students but to fellow teachers as well.”
Michelle has dedicated her career to advocating for students and teachers and feels that the key to helping students and teachers grow is through building meaningful relationships.
Michelle did not grow up in a world where education, let alone higher education, seemed to be an attainable goal. In fact, as a teenager, she was homeless, but knew that education was the only way out of poverty. Because of her upbringing, Michelle was determined to help kids who were in similar situations, and the positive effect that she has had on students is clear. It can most easily be summed up by something a student noted on an article featuring Ellis’ story of triumph over homelessness. The student wrote, “If she can do it, I can do it.” Michelle Ellis is nothing short of a role model.
Michelle continues her pursuit of education as she works on her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Global STEM Education through Texas Tech University.
Throughout her 28 years as a reading teacher and reading specialist, Sandra developed one goal: to positively impact the lives of young adolescents on a daily basis while building student, collegial, community, and global partnerships.
Under her direction, the Montello Junior High Reading Program was named Wisconsin winner of the International Reading Association Exemplary Reading Program Award.
In addition, in 2012, Patrick Marsh Middle School was named Wisconsin Middle School of Excellence by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. Criteria included Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations reading scores ranking in the top 10% and noteworthy accomplishments in collaborative leadership, professional learning communities, personalization, school culture, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
Kowalczyk's inclusion of international experiences in her teaching excites and engages students while promoting global literacy. She was the recipient of U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays summer travel awards in Peru (2016) China (2014) Morocco (2007) and India (2003); a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar in Istanbul, Turkey (2015) and Oaxaca, Mexico (2010); the Hilton Teacher Trek Award in Malaysia and Singapore (2014); and U.S.-Eurasia Teaching Excellence Award in Uzbekistan (2005) where she initiated and implemented a Culture Bag Exchange among multiple middle schools in Wisconsin and Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
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