DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cambium Learning® Group, a leading provider of award-winning education technology and services for PreK-12 markets, today announced the winners of its second annual Essential Educators Awards. During ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the Essential Educator Awards recognize teachers who surpassed expectations in their commitment to helping students and their communities. The award program aligns with Cambium’s purpose of helping all teachers and students feel seen, valued and supported.
The winning teachers were selected based on written nominations from invited school districts and partners across the country. As part of the awards, Cambium is donating $1,000 in each winner’s honor to the Kids In Need Foundation, which empowers under-resourced teachers and students by providing the supplies they need to succeed.
“The 2021-2022 school year brought its own set of unique challenges, from constantly changing mask mandates to new COVID-19 variants,” said John Campbell, CEO of Cambium Learning Group. “We want the teaching profession to be thought of as more than a calling or a passion – we also want it to be seen and respected by society as the high-value, high-stakes profession it truly is. Our goal with the Essential Educator Awards is to honor teachers who are committed to helping their students and who continue to step up during this challenging time.”
This year’s winners include three extraordinary educators and are from New Haven, Connecticut; Barnard, Chicago; and McAllen, Texas. Read excerpts from the winning nominations here:
- Audra Forstrom, James Hillhouse High School (New Haven Public Schools): Audra is the lead math teacher at James Hillhouse and is kind, warm, and especially attentive to the needs of students who come from poverty. In her role, she supports and mentors new and struggling teachers. She provides them with teaching strategies, many of which are enriched with technology such as ExploreLearning’s Gizmos®. She helps her fellow math teachers to understand the best strategies around teaching students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or who suffer from trauma. As a result, her students benefit from high usage of technology, high expectations, and guidance for what comes next.
“In the middle of some of the craziest and most challenging years in education, being recognized for my hard work is especially uplifting. I often feel as though students recognize my hard work, but it is a wonderful feeling to be recognized by those outside of the classroom as well” — Audra Forstrom
- Tasha Fisher, Alice L. Barnard Elementary School (Chicago Public Schools): During the pandemic, Tasha didn’t stop at Zoom to form relationships with students’ caregivers. Tasha visited students’ homes to establish trust and ensure that everyone in the family knew who she was and that she had their students’ best interests at heart so that there could be honest, transparent conversations to discuss student needs and progress. Tasha honors the whole student, and makes an intentional effort to listen to her students, eat lunch with them and pay attention to what engages them. Tasha is the true personification of Learning A-Z’s ‘why’ – she inspires curiosity, ensures comprehension, and instills the joy of learning for elementary school students.
“As a special education teacher, my mission is to motivate my students and to design a curriculum that reinforces their strengths and capabilities, as well as inspire them to reach their potential, and envision even greater possibilities. I’m so honored to receive this award and have my efforts validated by an organization that develops innovative educational resources that have enabled my students to achieve fantastic growth.” — Tasha Fisher
- Veronica Balli, Victor Fields Elementary (McAllen Independent School District): Veronica knew this year would be dramatically different after stepping into a new role teaching dyslexic students. She quickly discovered the challenges she faced, yet they never deterred her. Veronica possesses a zeal for teaching and a gift for motivating both face-to-face and remote learners, which has driven her students to reach their goals despite challenges. Veronica is a dedicated student herself, driven to master the Lexia® Core5® Reading program to best serve her students. She researched the program, read countless journal articles, and joined collaborative-learning communities, fully embracing her new role. Because of the safe learning space and culture Veronica creates, her students believe in themselves.
“It is an absolute honor and a humbling experience, but I am excited to have the opportunity to celebrate the progress and great strides our Dyslexia students are continuing to accomplish with Lexia Core5. I am blessed to work in a district that truly believes equitable learning is the right of every student and equips their teachers with programs and resources to make it possible.” — Veronica Balli
You can see last year’s Essential Educator Award winners here.
About Cambium Learning Group
Cambium Learning® Group is the education essentials company, providing award-winning education technology and services for K-12 markets. With an intentionally curated portfolio of respected global brands, Cambium serves as a leader in the education space, helping millions of educators and students feel more universally valued each and every day. In everything it does, the company focuses on the elements that are most essential to the success of education, delivering simpler, more certain solutions that make a meaningful difference right now.
To learn more, visit www.cambiumlearning.com or follow Cambium on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Medium. The Cambium family of brands includes: Cambium Assessment, Lexia® Learning, Learning A-Z®, Voyager Sopris Learning®, ExploreLearning®, Time4Learning®, and Kurzweil Education®.