FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2018
COLUMBUS, OH – Sandra Kowalczyk, a reading specialist at Patrick Marsh Middle School, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, will be awarded the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) 2018 Educator of the Year Award. The award, supported by the AMLE Foundation Fund, recognizes outstanding practitioners in middle level education—those who have made a significant impact on the lives of young adolescents through exemplary leadership, vision, and advocacy. The award will be presented in October 2018 at the 45th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Orlando, Florida.
Kowalczyk has been a middle school literacy educator for 27 years, teaching intervention classes for high-needs students reading below grade level. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been a Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year (2009), National Council of Teachers of English Outstanding Middle Level Educator (2015), and was a Global Teacher Prize Top 50 Finalist (2015) amongst other awards. Kowalczyk co-designed integrated reading/language arts curricula integrating music, dance, and drama as part of a K-12 project selected by NASA as one of eight projects aboard the 1998 STDS Discovery Space Shuttle Mission, Astronaut John Glenn's historic return to space. Her reading program was selected in 1999 as winner of the International Reading Association Exemplary Reading Program Award. She regularly presents at state, regional, national, and international education events. Kowalczyk was awarded a Global Diversity Grant by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison (WI), she was a Top 50 Finalist for the Varkey Global Teacher Prize in 2015, and she wrote and implemented five competitive grants awarded by the Sun Prairie Education Foundation.
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.
Rebecca Murray, a former colleague at Patrick Marsh Middle School, said, "Sandy immerses our students not only in literacy, but in social justice and cultural experiences as well. We are fortunate and privileged to have such a dedicated and creative educator and middle level advocate in our midst."
According to Patrick Marsh Middle School Principal Corey Shefchik, "I can attest to her passion, leadership, vision, and advocacy for middle level education. Sandra clearly values this age group with whom she has worked for 27 years. She thrives on challenges and continually seeks to update her own and others' knowledge."
"I owe my accomplishments to both the inspiring teachers I have had, as well as the talented teachers I've had the opportunity to work with as peers. Our world is a better place because of passionate and dedicated teachers everywhere and those who acknowledge and reward them," said Kowalczyk.
About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. A membership association with more than 55,000 teachers, principals, counselors, and others as members, AMLE provides professional learning and networking opportunities to those who work with students ages 10-15. www.amle.org www.amle.org/annual
April Tibbles | AMLE | 800-528-6672 | firstname.lastname@example.org