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2011 Brock Prize Nominees

Dr. Carl A. Cohn
Professor, Claremont Graduate University, and President of Urban School Imagineers, Long Beach, California

Dr. Cohn has personified the valuable role of a research practitioner, expanding the field of education in a variety of ways. An educator with experience in both urban and college-level education Cohn is presently a clinical professor of urban school leadership at Claremont Graduate University and President of Urban School Imagineers, Long Beach, California.  As the former superintendent for the Long Beach Beach Unified School District, he spearheaded a dramatic turnaround in that school system as it emerged as one of the leading urban school districts in the nation. In 2000, Dr. Cohn was America’s longest serving urban superintendent and during this tenure he made the school district a model for high academic standards and accountability.  Through exemplifying commitment to leadership and improved student achievement, he won the McGraw Prize in 2002 and the district won the Broad Prize in 2003. In 2002, Dr. Cohn served as Clinical Professor for the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California and went on to become an Independent Court Monitor for the Los Angeles Federal District Court. From 2005-2007, Dr. Cohn served as the Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District and recently served as a Leader in Residence at the College of Education at San Diego State University before joining the Claremont Graduate University faculty.

 

Cohn earned his Ed.D in Urban and Educational Policy and Planning from the University of California Los Angeles; MA in Counseling from Chapman University; and a BA in Philosophy from St. John’s College.

 

Dr. James P. Comer
Director of the Child Study Center’s Comer School Development Project; Associate Dean and Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University Medical School

 

One of the country's leading child psychiatrists, Dr. James P. Comer, received his BA from Indiana University, MD from Howard University, and MPH and post-doctoral study from the U of Michigan.  Comer is best known for his pioneering efforts to improve the scholastic performance of children from low-income and minority backgrounds. Unlike most education-reform programs, which focus on academic concerns, such as improving teachers' credentials and building students' basic skills, the "Comer Method" emphasizes the development of children's social skills and self-esteem. It was first introduced at two elementary schools in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1968 as part of a "school-intervention" project organized by the Child Study Center at Yale University. "Our analysis of interactions among parents, staff and students revealed a basic problem underlying the schools' dismal academic and disciplinary record: the socio-cultural misalignment between home and school," Comer explained in Scientific American. "We developed a way to understand how such misalignments disrupt beneficial relations and how to overcome them in order to promote educational development."

 

Three structures comprise the basic framework on which the Comer Process is built:  (1) The School Planning and Management Team develops a Comprehensive School Plan, sets academic, social, and community relations goals, and coordinates all school activities; (2) The Student and Staff Support Team promotes desirable social conditions and relationships; and(3) The Parent Team involves parents and families in the school by developing activities through which they can support the school’s social and academic programs.

 

Matthew Dorschner
Principal, Chanhassen Elementary School, Chanhassen, Minnesota

Dorschner received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Mankato State University, a master’s degree in special education from Bethel University, and is currently working toward a PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University of Minnesota.  He has served as a elementary teacher for 6 years and as a principal for the past 11 years.

Matthew Dorschner’s commitment to educational improvement is evident from the span of his career: from teaching Minnesota’s most challenging students with emotional and behavioral needs in Forest Lake, Minnesota; to leading schools in rural, high-poverty small town, and inner-ring suburban locations; to studying for a doctorate in education policy; to guiding the Minnesota School of Excellence Program through comprehensive changes that enable schools statewide to effectively evolve to embrace the needs of their communities. Under Dorschner’s direction the Minnesota Elementary Principal’s Association has committed to enhancing the Minnesota School of Excellence Program to address the dynamic needs of 21st century school.  He has (1) revised the six program core standards to reflect current national standards on instructional leadership in schools; (2) focused the self-study process, setting the priority on student learning and developing predictive hands-on-assessment tools throughout the school community; (3) crafted a support network to ensure the vitality of each school’s improvement process; and (4) pursued a reflective model with ongoing school follow-up, resulting in high impact strategies that build capacity and can be shared between communities.

 

Howard Gardner
The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and  Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero

Gardner received undergraduate degrees from Harvard and the London School of Economics; a PhD from Harvard, and Postdoctoral Fellowships from the Harvard Medical School and Boston Aphasia Research Center.  Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. He has received honorary degrees from 26 colleges and universities, including institutions in Bulgaria, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, and South Korea. In 2005 and again in 2008, he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world.

The author of 25 books translated into 28 languages, and several hundred articles, Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be adequately assessed by standard psychometric instruments.  His work is best described as an effort to understand and explicate the broadest and highest reaches of human thought, with a particular focus on intellectual capacity.  The end result of much of his research in Project Zero is to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy, and the quality of interdisciplinary efforts in education.  Currently Gardner is investigating the nature of trust in contemporary society and ethical dimensions entailed in the use of the new digital media.

 

Dr. Linda Darling Hammond
Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University; Co Director Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, and Co-Director School Redesign Network

Darling-Hammond  holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Ed.D in Urban Education from Temple Univertsity.  Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has dedicated her life’s work to the pursuit of excellence and equity for all children. Her focus on effective instruction has sparked important conversations about what it takes to reform education. As she states so eloquently in her book, The Right to Learn: A Blueprint for Creating Schools that Work,"Bureaucratic solutions to problems of practice will always fail because effective teaching is not routine, students are not passive, and questions of practice are not simple, predictable, or standardized. Consequently, instructional decisions cannot be formulated on high then packaged and handed down to teachers."

Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education states the following:  Linda Darling-Hammond asserts that “the United States needs to establish a purposeful, equitable education system that moves beyond a collection of disparate and shifting reform initiatives, only occasionally related to what we know about teaching and learning, to a thoughtful, well-organized, and well-supported set of policies that will enable all students to learn how to learn, create, and invent the new world they are entering.”  Darling-Hammond in her latest book, The Flat World and Education:  How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future, has given us a roadmap for educational excellence for all children in today’s flat world, by placing of the teacher front and center.

 

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County since May, 1992.  His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance.  He currently chairs the National Academies’ Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Science & Engineering Workforce Pipeline. In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which in 2009 ranked UMBC the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university and #4 (tied with Stanford) for commitment to undergraduate teaching.  In 2009, Time magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents.  He co-authoredBeating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds focusing on parenting and high achieving African American males and females in science.

Hrabowski received his BA from Hampton Institute, and MA and PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He is the son of African American school teachers who for decades taught in the segregated schools of Birmingham, Alabama.  As a child Hrabowski participated in the Civil Rights Movement, including being arrested and jailed for civil disobedience.   He has dedicated his life, professionally and personally, to educating American children from all backgrounds.

 

David Matthews
Matthews is president and chief executive officer of the Kettering Foundation

The Kettering Foundation is, a not-for-profit research foundation, rooted in the American tradition of invention. Named after Charles F. Kettering who was best known for inventing the automobile self-starter, the foundation, created in 1927, focuses on democratic politics and particularly the role of citizens. Dr. Mathews became president and CEO of the Kettering Foundation in 1981, and since then, citizen engagement, public “ownership” of education, and the relationship of colleges and universities to democracy have been an important emphasis for the foundation’s work.

Prior to his work at Kettering, Mathews served as the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Ford Administration where he worked on restoring public confidence in government and public education.   From 1965 to 1980, Mathews taught history at the University of Alabama where he also served as president from 1969 to 1980, the youngest president (age 33) of a major university.   Mathews has written extensively on subjects related to education, political theory, public policy, and international problem solving.  His books include: Why Public Schools?  Whose Public Schools?For Communities to Work;Politics for People:  Finding a responsible public voiceIs There a Public for Public Schools; and Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy.


Ioannis Miaoulis
President and Director, National Center for Technological Literacy, Museum of Science, Science Park, Boston, MA

Miaoulis received his B.S. M.E. from Tufts University, M.S.M.E. from M.I.T., and a M.A. in Economics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.  He is a leading authority on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education, and recognized as the foremost champion of K-12 Engineering education in the US.  His model of engineering as a process by which the human-made world of technology is created has been widely proclaimed as a necessary parallel to the teaching science as a process for our understanding of the natural world.  Miaoulis championed the introduction of engineering into the Massachusetts science and technology public school curriculum, the first state in the U.S. to do so in 2001.

Prior to the Miaoulis initiative the science curriculum focused exclusively on the natural world, which arguably, occupies less than five percent of our day-to-day activities.  Thus, the classical K-12 curriculum essentially ignored the engineering design process.  Five major reasons motivated Miaoulis to champion the introduction of engineering as core discipline:  (1) technological literacy, understanding the human-made world and how it is made; (2) engineering integrates all disciplines and creates wonderful problem-solving team activities; (3) engineering makes mathematics and science relevant to students and motivates them to continue their studies in these areas; (4) engineering motivates students to consider engineering as a desirable career option, ensuring a much-needed robust U.S. technological workforce; and (5) engineering design builds students’ skills and abilities to navigate in a three-dimensional world.

Miaoulis is a fellow in the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, is a member of the NASA Advisory Committee, a Presidential Appointee to the National Board of Museum and Library Services, and a member of the Board of Trustees at Tufts.

 

Phillip Schlechty
Chief Executive Officer, Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform

Phillip C. Schlechty is one of the nation’s foremost authors and speakers on school reform and is the founder and chief executive officer of the Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform.  There are two basic arguments undergirding Schlechty’s work:  First, he argues that students do not need to be motivated; rather the task of teachers is to discover the motives students bring with them to school and the classroom and design student work that responds to those motives.  Second, he argues that the way schools are organized shapes the extent to which teachers can design engaging experiences for students, and it is the responsibility of all school leaders , including parents, school board members, superintendents, principals, and teachers to “work on the system” at the same time they “work on the work”.   Schlechty’s latest book, Leading for Learning: How to Transform Schools into Learning Organizationsfocuses attention on specific strategies for changing schools so that they are more attuned to the realities of the 21st century. His other books, such as, Creating Great Schools: Six Critical Systems at the Heart of Educational InnovationWorking on the Work: An Action Plan for Teachers, Principals, and SuperintendentsShaking Up the Schoolhouse: How to Support and Sustain Educational Innovation; and Inventing Better Schools: An Action Plan for Educational Reform, are also valuable tools for all school reformers.

Schlechty received his BS, MA, and PhD from Ohio State University and is a former classroom teacher, university professor, and associate dean.