Magnet Schools of America Announces 2013 National Award Winners

Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 08, 2013

Magnet Schools of America (MSA), the national association for magnet and theme-based schools, announced the recipients of its 2013 national awards in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 7, 2013. During the 31st National Conference on Magnet Schools, which was hosted by Tulsa Public Schools, the association honored the nation’s best magnet principal, teacher, and school. “MSA national teachers and principals were appropriately recognized on National Educator Day to recognize their accomplishments and leadership within the magnet school community,” said MSA Executive Director, Scott Thomas. “These teachers and principals are committed individuals who strive daily to bring innovation, excellence and equity to their schools. MSA is proud to commend them and share in their work.”

Kathleen Decker, of Walter Bracken STEAM Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, was named the National Principal of-the-Year. Tere Pujol-Burns, from Sunset Elementary School in Miami, Florida, was named the National Teacher-of-the-Year. Hanes Magnet Middle School, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the 2013 National Magnet School of the Year.

2013 National Principal of-the-Year

Kathleen Decker, Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, Clark County Public Schools, Nevada

Kathleen Decker, principal at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy in Las Vegas, has developed an effective magnet program that transformed the school completely. When Ms. Decker was appointed principal in 2001, Walter Bracken was one of the lowest performing schools in the district. This year, the award-winning program has received High Achievement status from the state of Nevada for Adequate Yearly Progress and ranked among the top 5% of all schools in the district. Walter Bracken offers a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).

Over the more than ten years she has led the school, Ms. Decker has focused on sustainability to ensure the school’s mission and vision live long past her tenure. She has established community partnerships, constructed outdoor gardens, refreshed the school building with colorful murals, developed an onsite bank for students, and installed learning labs to successfully create an environment that is appropriate for theme-based learning. Magnet Schools of America is delighted to honor Principal Kathleen Decker for her outstanding leadership of Walter Bracken STEAM Academy in Clark County, Nevada.

2013 National Teacher of-the-Year

Tere Pujol-Burns, Sunset Elementary School, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida

Tere Pujol-Burns, who has been a magnet teacher for 26 years, is the Lead Teacher of the International Studies Magnet Program at Sunset Elementary in Miami. She teaches students in kindergarten to fifth grade.

Ms. Pujol-Burns has united a diverse group of learners to work towards a common goal in several ways. She designed and implemented People to People International’s Change for Change community service initiative. This program allowed the school to raise funds to support kangaroo adoption, rain forest preservation, Save the Waves Coalition and UNICEF. Of all her efforts at community building, Ms. Pujol-Burns views Multicultural Student Exchange Program as her greatest contribution. She designed the program to eliminate minority group isolation and allow students from diverse backgrounds opportunities to develop friendships. Magnet Schools of America is pleased to honor Lead Magnet Teacher Tere Pujol-Burns for her outstanding teaching at Sunset Elementary School in Miami, Florida.

2013 National Magnet School Merit Award Winner

Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Award, sponsored by American Education Solutions

Hanes Magnet Middle School, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools, North Carolina

The Hanes Magnet Middle School, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, received the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award. Given annually to the nation’s top magnet school, the award commemorates the organization’s founding member Dr. Ronald P. Simpson. It includes a $5,000 prize, sponsored this year by American Education Solutions.

Hanes Magnet Middle School offers a rigorous academic foundation for adolescent students to excel in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Real-world connections are made in all classes, including projects that ask students to design shoes that convert from high heels to flats, as well as one in which they are expected to design a bridge to connect multiple sections of the city. Hanes’ STEM project-based learning design process takes place throughout the curriculum as well as in their extra-curricular activities. At Hanes, everything is STEM, screaming the theme of this magnet school.

Hanes has been honored with eleven consecutive years of expected academic growth in the North Carolina ABC accountability model and has been a school of High Growth for six of the last eight years. Magnet Schools of America is thrilled to honor Hanes Magnet Middle School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for excellence as a magnet school.

Additional National Merit Award Winners:

National merit awards are given to magnet schools that demonstrate a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation and diversity efforts, and strong parent and community involvement. To be considered for a merit award, member schools must submit an application that is scored by a panel of educators.