2017 Brock Prize Nominees



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Karl Alexander

Nominated by:  John Sipple

Karl L. Alexander has worked for 30 years to analyze and highlight home vs. school effects and coined the phrase “summer setback” to describe the phenomenon leading to differential academic and life course success. By thoughtfully documenting the experiences and outcomes in and out of school for poor, middle class, minority and majority children, we now better understand how schools impact children as well as the powerful impact of community and family on childhood and adult outcomes. States and school systems across the country now commonly debate and act on the merits of summer school, year-round schooling, teacher quality, early education, and after-school programs in large part due to the work of Prof. Alexander.

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Pam Allyn

Nominated by:  Jennifer Trujillo

Pam Allyn is the executive director and founder of LitWorld, a groundbreaking global literacy movement founded on the belief that literacy is a universal human right. The group works to further productive, transformational literacy defined by dreams that can come true.  One program, LitClub, focuses on in-depth, out-of-school literacy and empowerment. It is used in 15 countries across five continents. “World Read Aloud Day” rallies over 18 million people online, and over 1 million people across the U.S. in a call to action. From the girl in Haiti marching down her street with a sign advocating for her right to read, to the boy in Iowa hearing his favorite author read to his class over video chat, the impact of LitWorld is both global and local.


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Adarsh Alphons

Nominated by:  Katelyn Norris

Adarsh Alphons is the founder and executive director of Project Art, a quickly growing nonprofit organization that transforms public libraries into vital cultural hubs offering youth year-round visual arts classes taught by emerging artists and college students. Adarsh founded Project Art in 2011 to address the major lack of arts education in New York City Public Schools. Since its inception in 2011, Project Art has served more than 3,500 NYC youth, and as a result of the success, impact and scalability of the program, is poised to expand nationally over the next several years. Project Art aims to change the way the world views arts education by utilizing data and powerful pedagogical partnerships to measure and communicate the impact of art access. 


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Michele Hilmes

Nominated by:  Josh Shepperd

Michele Hilmes is professor emeritus of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a prolific historian of mass media, who has written seminal works on the institutional, political, and social role radio has played in shaping public and popular culture. She is credited with introducing the historiographical method to reconstruct media phenomena when primary sources have been lost, and is among the founders of the emergent field of "Sound Studies." Her book, Radio Voices, is the standard for conducting analysis of gendered, racialized, and classed media representations as cultural forms. Her textbook, Only Connect, is the most widely appropriated teaching resource for media history in the U.S.



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Richard Miller

Nominated by:  Vincent Manno

Richard (Rick) K. Miller may be the most significant contributor to the reinvention of undergraduate engineering education in the 21st Century. A gentle but forceful voice for change, Miller gave up a deanship and tenure to be the first employee and founding president of the Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA in 1999. The college and Miller, who is its embodiment, have received the highest accolades of the engineering and education professions, including the 2013 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education, and election to the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. Driven by Miller’s vision, Olin has become a model of project-based, design-centric education for engineering and non-engineering schools alike in the U.S. and abroad.


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Mark Templeton

Nominated by: Kerri White

Mark Templeton, retired CEO of Citrix Corporation, envisioned top-level school, district, and state leaders getting executive training in how effective organizations across sectors achieve transformation.  He championed the concept, seeded the work, and engaged other stakeholders to implement the University of Virginia’s Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE), combining the most innovative thinking in business and education. Since 2003 the PLE’s signature turnaround program has impacted reading and math achievement in over 300 of the lowest performing schools across 17 states.  PLE programs have led to systemic changes in districts and states across the country, contributing to hundreds of thousands of students receiving a better education.



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Heleen Terwijn

Nominated by:  Mary Burns

In 1998, Heleen Terwijn, a Dutch psychologist/psychotherapist, as part of a university research study in immigrant communities in Amsterdam, found alarmingly high depression rates, a lack of future orientation, and disaffection with school among pre-teens in these communities. Profoundly impacted by what she found, Terwijn created a program to capitalize on the natural enthusiasm of children and founded the internationally acclaimed IMC Weekend School. Each Saturday and Sunday at the Weekend School – in 10 schools in the Netherlands, three in Belgium and one in Hong Kong – volunteer guest teachers – all professionals – teach courses in journalism, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, philosophy, and other subjects, to youth ages 10-13 using active, real-world, and collaborative learning techniques. 


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James N. Tooley

Nominated by:  David J. Theroux

James N. Tooley, professor of education policy and director of the E.G. West Centre at Newcastle University upon Tyre, has researched low-cost, private schools in developing countries. His award-winning book, The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey into How the World’s Poorest People Are Educating Themselves, profiled in BBC and PBS documentaries, shows that in many slums and shanty towns in India and Africa, most schoolchildren are in low-cost, private schools, where they significantly outperform children in public schools. Now turning his attention to the U.S., he is showing how low-cost, private schools could provide superior educational options for the poor and all of America’s children.


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James Verrilli

Nominated by:  April Peters-Hawkins

James Verrilli is the founding co-principal of the North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. Jamey’s vision was to create a school for underserved students attending the state-run Newark Public Schools. Under Jamey’s visionary and social justice oriented leadership, North Star Academy has grown from a single charter middle school that opened in 1997 with 32 students, to a network of 10 schools that serve over 3,500 elementary, middle and high school students in the Newark, NJ area. The North Star Network of schools have, since their inception, been a beacon and an exemplar for effective teaching and learning for educators in both public and charter school contexts.