Bishop to Receive National Award for Middle Level Education

September 1, 2016

COLUMBUS, OH — Penny Bishop, Ed.D., associate dean of the University of Vermont (UVM), College of Education and Social Services, Burlington, is the recipient of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service in Middle Level Education. The award, the highest offered by AMLE, was established to recognize individuals whose scholarship, service, leadership, and contributions to the theory and practice of the middle level education ideal have been extraordinary. The award will be presented in October 2016 at the 43rd Annual Conference for Middle Level Education in Austin, Texas. For more than 20 years Bishop has been an active middle level education advocate. A scholar of middle level education research, leadership, teaching, and service, Bishop’s work has made a significant impact in Vermont, nationally, and internationally.

In 2001 Bishop launched UVM’s middle level teacher education program, which has been recognized as a Program of Distinction by the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Educators and received the Outstanding Middle Level Teacher Education award from the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education. She co-directs the annual Middle Grades Institute, now in its 22nd year, an event that provides personalized professional development for 200 middle level educators. Bishop was a founding member and co-chair of the Vermont Middle Level Task Force, which advocated for middle grades teacher licensure. She also was awarded the Jackie Gribbons Leadership Award from the Vermont Women in Higher Education in 2010.

Of her commitment to her pre-service and graduate students, associate director of the Tarrant Institute, John M. Downes, Ed.D. said, “I have witnessed Penny’s consistent effort to understand her students, solicit their needs and interests, support them in their lows and celebrate their highs. She commits the same effort to her colleagues, modeling these values in her collegial relations just as she inspires her trainees to address the affective needs of the young adolescents they ultimately serve … she draws out the best in those she works with.”

Bishop was awarded a Sir Ian Axford Policy Fellowship from the New Zealand government, and her work in this role informed teacher education in New Zealand as she served on the Middle Years Steering Committee for the New Zealand Ministry of Education. To foster cross-cultural understanding and extend her research in New Zealand, she developed a course that regularly sends graduate students to New Zealand for homestay and school-based visitations, and an undergraduate Vermont-New Zealand Exchange program that sends students for semester-long internships in schools.

Bishop has cultivated external funds and gifts totaling more than $13 million to improve education for young adolescents. In 2010, with funds from the Richard E and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation, Bishop developed the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. This program, affiliated with the University of Vermont, partners with 28 middle schools—with plans to extend its reach to 60 schools—to improve the education of young adolescents in Vermont through technology-rich learning and research.

She has written five books, more than 40 articles and chapters, and serves as a manuscript reviewer for the AMLE publications Research in Middle Level Education Online and Middle School Journal. She also is founder and co-editor of Middle Grades Review, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on schooling for young adolescents. Bishop has presented numerous sessions and keynote presentations around the world, served as chair and member of the AMLE Research Advisory Committee, and served in various roles for the American Educational Research Association’s Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group (SIG).

“Dr. Bishop’s work has shown that the middle school years are crucial for emotional and academic development and require pedagogy based on brain research and current theory about adolescent development,” said Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, Ph.D., associate dean of the University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services.

According to her doctoral advisor, and personal friend, Christopher Stevenson, Ph.D., “I have known her for close to 20 years, and I could not be prouder or more impressed by anyone’s generosity of time and talent than hers. I find the record of her professional life breathtaking. I have been closely acquainted with most of the leaders of the middle level movement in my generation, and her productivity and leadership have not been exceeded by anyone.”


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 48,000 teachers, principals, counselors, and others as members, AMLE provides professional learning and networking opportunities to those who work with students ages 10-15.

Media Contact
April Tibbles | AMLE | 800-528-6672 |