By: Jud Fisher—
Ball Brothers Foundation will be honoring local teachers in 2016 through the Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Award. As in previous years, the top honor includes a $15,000 grant to promote innovation in the winning teacher’s district, school, and classroom. The Excellence in Teaching grants program is open to public school teachers with at least three years of experience who are currently teaching in a K-12 classroom in any of Delaware County’s public school systems. Each district develops its own selection process and has the opportunity to submit two nominations. Nominations are due February 1, 2016.
An expert panel of judges considers the nominations. Judges for the 2016 award include Patricia Clark, chair of Ball State University’s Department of Elementary Education; Gary Pavlechko, director of teaching technology in the Office of Educational Excellence at Ball State University; Kate Love-Jacobson, Associate at High Performance Government Network, Fort Wayne; Dale Basham, veteran educator, school administrator; and Dr. Neil Schmottlach, who retired from Ball Brothers Foundation in 2014.
Schmottlach is new to the judging panel this year. Prior to his tenure with Ball Brothers Foundation, Schmottlach spent 35 years at Ball State University where he taught teaching methodology in the School of Physical Education and supervised student teachers across several subject areas through BSU’s Teacher College. From 1986 to 2000, Schmottlach served as the Director of the Fisher Institute for Wellness and Gerontology (now the “Fisher Institute for Health and Well-Being”.)
In commenting on the Excellence in Teaching Awards, panel member Patricia Clark stated, “I have been truly impressed by the applications in previous years – we have a lot of teachers in Delaware County who are doing amazing things with their students and in their communities.” She continued, commenting, “Too often our teachers and schools do not receive the recognition they deserve for the hard work that they do to improve the lives of children and families, but this award provides validation to teachers and to schools for the efforts they make. The substantial monetary award encourages teachers and schools to continue to innovate and make an impact not only on students, but on families and communities as well. I am proud to be a part of this effort to recognize the outstanding teaching that is occurring in Delaware County.” The 2015 award was presented to Renee Huffman, a kindergarten teacher at Burris Laboratory School while the 2014 award was presented to Julian Ravenscroft, an algebra and calculus teacher at Daleville Jr.-Sr. High School in Daleville. The inaugural award was presented in 2013 to Holly Stachler, an elementary school teacher in Yorktown who has since gone on to lead the district’s technology integration efforts. Application forms are available on the Ball Brothers Foundation website (at this link) and can be completed and filed electronically.
Details about all Ball Brothers Foundation funding opportunities are available on the foundation’s website at www.ballfdn.org.
With assets totaling approximately $160 million, Ball Brothers Foundation annually makes grants in support of arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services and public affairs. The Muncie-based family foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in BBF’s home city, county and state.