Distinguished Educator Award Winners
The Distinguished Educator Award was launched in 2003 to recognize outstanding middle level practitioners. The Distinguished Educator Award winners impact the lives of our young adolescents on a day-to-day basis. They are the leaders in reform and change in their respective schools and districts, implementing the recommendations outlined in This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents. In many different ways they provide knowledge, advocacy, and support to the middle level movement by providing exceptional leadership as team members and administrative leaders.
In November 2006 National Middle School Association honored two individuals who have truly made a difference in our wonderful profession. Both honoree's leadership transcends their individual university and middle school with impact at the national and international levels; it embraces NMSA's This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents' vision of quality middle level education for all.
Dr. Betty Dore is middle level through and through! To say that she has been involved with middle level education for over 30 years in Maine, Colorado, and Virginia puts it mildly. Betty's distinguished body of work models the vision and values of courageous, collaborative leadership, shared vision, and high expectations for every member of the learning community.
As the coordinator of middle grades programs at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, Dr. Dore made a difference by creating the professional development school model that builds a year-long experience of teaching and learning right in the middle school. She is president of the Virginia Middle School Association and edits its journal, The Crucial Link. She has been the principal investigator for a grant to improve the training of middle level science and mathematics teachers. She is on the Program Standards Committee for Middle School Programs for NCATE, is a member of NCATE's Board of Examiners, and worked on the Praxis II Licensure correlation study on middle level programs for the Virginia Department of Education.
In addition to all of this, Betty Dore is president elect of the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education, where she can provide leadership to those who are developing the next generation of middle level educators and leaders.
Dr. Dore's service to NMSA includes reviewing publications, Middle School Journal, and applications for the Teams that Make a Difference award program. Recently, she authored the NMSA publication, Diversity and Young Adolescents: More Than Color. Dr. Ed Brazee notes in the book's introduction that, "In life there are the doers, the people who always get things done, and the talkers who recognize what needs to be done but never get around to doing it. Betty Dore is a doer. She cuts through the details of life and directly for what needs to be done."
Christine Waggoner serves as principal of South Charlotte Middle School in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina She brought healing and leadership to the staff of a school that some thought had been "left behind" in the aftermath of a district reorganization, and led it to become a 2004 School to Watch, and a North Carolina School of Excellence with Exemplary Growth since 2003. Her superintendent notes that Christine created a climate of high expectations for the South Charlotte students, staff and community. The monthly "Conversations with Christine" gatherings help to build and strengthen relationships with the families at South Charlotte Middle School.
Earlier in her career, Christine served as principal at St. John's International School in Waterloo, Belgium. She worked with her staff to change a junior high model to a middle level one to benefit young adolescent students. In 1987 she founded the European League of Middle Level Education and served that NMSA affiliate as its first president. It was NMSA's first international affiliate. As principal of a Middle Years International Baccalaureate in Waterloo, Belgium, she brought that program to Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 1993 at Marie G. Davis Middle School.
Christine served on NMSA as a member of its board of trustees, co-author of articles in the Middle School Journal, and Middle Level Practices and Trends in European International and Department of Defense Schools: a Status Report.
Christine also served as chair of the European Council of International Schools Middle School Committee, as an International Baccalaureate Organization authorization team member, and as a member of visiting teams representing the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.
Christine is known for asking teachers who interview with her, "What do you expect of me?" Those who work with her see her as the epitome of an educator who daily portrays leadership, advocacy, and courage. One colleague noted: "Ms. Waggoner has complete faith in her teachers, staff, and especially our students, and therefore expects the best performances possible." Her teachers feel and believe that they are empowered to do what's best for kids. Every program at South Charlotte Middle School is viewed from the perspective, "Is this in keeping with the middle school philosophy?"
Wherever Christine Waggoner goes, she uses leadership to leverage change. Most important, perhaps, is what students say: "Ms. Waggoner will do whatever she needs to get us where we need to be. She wants us to be successful."