Four top tech teachers awarded IU School of Education?s Jacobs Educator Awards

  • Nov. 10, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Education has honored four teachers from three states with the latest Jacobs Teacher Educator awards. The annual award honors teachers from across the country who use technology to support innovative, inquiry-based teaching and learning activities in their classrooms.

From a pool of high-quality candidates, four teachers -- two from Illinois, one from Arizona and another from New Jersey -- earned this year’s honor. Three of the teachers were able to attend a ceremony and receive their awards during Parents’ Weekend events at the Wright Education Building in Bloomington.

Each teacher selected receives a $1,500 stipend at the end of the one-year appointment and $1,000 toward purchasing technology resources to support his or her teaching, as well as funds to support travel to Indiana University for professional development events throughout the year. Each of these teachers has committed to working with the School of Education throughout the year to share expertise and experience with teacher education students and faculty.

“The School of Education is excited to add this group of exceptional teachers to our team of Jacobs Educators,” said Thomas Brush, Barbara B. Jacobs Chair of Education and Technology. “Their innovative uses of technology to support teaching and learning in their classrooms will serve as exemplars of the best ways to integrate technology and pedagogy for our teacher education students.”

The 2014-15 Jacobs Teacher Educators are:

Kate Baker, a ninth- and 12th-grade English teacher at Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, N.J.. Baker is a contributing author of the book "Flipping 2.0:  Practical Strategies for Flipping Your Classroom." Baker has taught for 16 years and is adept at integrating technology effectively in her classes using flipped and blended learning strategies. She has been recognized as certified trainer and “support ambassador” by Edmodo, a community of K-12 educators that promotes and supports technology in education. Baker is active in sharing her expertise through Twitter chats, blogging, e-journals and presentations at regional and national conferences. She writes about her teaching techniques on her blog Bakers BYOD.

Tricia Fuglestad, a K-5 elementary art teacher at Dryden Elementary School, Arlington Heights, Ill. Fugelstad, who holds a master’s degree in K-12 technology integration, has been recognized for her innovative teaching with numerous awards, including the 2010 PBS Teachers Innovation Award, 2011 Illinois Art Teacher of the Year, Golden Apple Foundation Teacher of Distinction in 2012 and Western Region Elementary Art Teacher of the Year 2013. Her students' art has been shown in state and national art shows and featured in college art education textbooks, and the magazines iPhone Life and Natural Childworld. Her students have also created videos shown in international film festivals that have won many awards. Fuglestad has written for School Arts Magazine, Education World and the Illinois Education Association. She speaks often about teaching with technology, sharing at professional development conferences, workshops and online seminars around the region.

Karen Mensing, a first- and second-grade teacher, Fireside Elementary School, Phoenix, Ariz. Mensing teaches a first- and second-grade self-contained gifted class at her school within the Paradise Valley Unified School District. The Arizona Technology in Education Association honored her as its Teacher of the Year in 2012. Mensing is Arizona's Gifted Teacher of the Year for 2011, selected by the Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented.  Mensing was invited to the first International Google Teacher Academy in 2011, where she earned status as a Google Certified Teacher and also became one of the first 15 YouTube Star Teachers by attending the inaugural YouTube Teacher Studio. Later that year, she was invited to attend the Google Geo Teachers Institute and became a Google Apps for Education certified trainer. In 2012, Honeywell and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children awarded her a $10,000 classroom makeover by for her inventive use of Internet safety in the classroom. Recently, Mensing was named one of only 100 PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators for her use of technology and innovation in the classroom.

Josh Mika, a teacher and librarian, at Beebe Elementary in Naperville, Ill. Mika has taught in the library and media center for nine years after teaching fourth and fifth grades for eight years. In 2011, he was named an Apple Distinguished Educator and he now serves on the U.S. Apple Distinguished Educator Advisory Board, responsible for planning and implementing annual summer institutes. Mika holds a doctorate of education from Aurora University, where his research focused on the mobile generation. He speaks regularly at national EdTech and Library Media conferences and also works with the Illinois State Library as an instructor for Illinois ILEAD USA. ILEAD stands for Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover, an organization that promotes best use of technology by librarians. You can hear him speaking about some of his teaching techniques in a recent edition of the “Flipped Learning Podcast” hosted by 2013 Jacobs Educator Troy Cockrum.

The Jacobs Teacher Educator Award is possible though a $1 million gift from the late Barbara B. Jacobs. Her previous philanthropy established the Jacobs Chair in Education and Technology at the IU School of Education in 1998. For more information, visit the Jacobs Teacher Educators website or the Jacobs Teacher Educators' Facebook page.

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Newly-named Jacobs Teacher Educators include, from left, Josh Mika, Karen Mensing and Kate Baker. Not pictured is the fourth recipient, Tricia Fuglestad, who was unable to attend the award ceremony.

Newly-named Jacobs Teacher Educators include, from left, Josh Mika, Karen Mensing and Kate Baker. Not pictured is the fourth recipient, Tricia Fuglestad, who was unable to attend the award ceremony.

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