MUNCIE—In conjunction with National Teacher Appreciation Week, Ball Brothers Foundation (BBF) is pleased to announce that Steve Spradlin, a science and math teacher at Muncie Community Schools’ Northside Middle School was selected as BBF’s 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award winner. The honor includes a $15,000 grant. Finalists for the award were Lisa Eckerty, a first grade teacher at Muncie Community School’s Mitchell Elementary, and Tammy Underwood, a sixth grade English/language arts teacher at Cowan Elementary School. Each of the finalists will receive a $1,000 grant to use in their classroom.
“After reviewing the nominations submitted for this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards one thing was clear. Our school systems throughout Delaware County are filled with gifted teachers who work tirelessly to provide students with outstanding learning opportunities. We’re glad to have the chance to recognize the work of these dedicated teachers,” said Jud Fisher, president and chief operating officer of the Muncie-based family foundation. “The field was very competitive this year, but in the end it came down to Steve Spradlin. Steve’s middle school classroom is a flurry of hands-on learning and creativity. Steve truly brings science, technology, engineering, and math to life. Even more, his students are challenged to work collaboratively, think critically, effectively communicate, plan, and problem solve.”
The Excellence in Teaching grants program is open to K-12 classroom educators with at least three years of experience in any of the county’s public school systems. The award honors a teacher who brings innovation, enthusiasm, and 21st century skills into the classroom. Each district develops its own selection process and has the opportunity to nominate two candidates.
A five-member panel reviewed the applications and selected the three finalists. 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, coordinator with the City of Fort Wayne and consultant with High Performance Government Network; Dale Basham, veteran educator, school administrator; and Dr. Neil Schmottlach, who retired from Ball Brothers Foundation in 2014.
“Each of the teachers honored this year are to be commended for the excellence they display in their profession. They go above and beyond to ensure that their students have authentic learning experiences that teach core academic content. At the same time, these teachers are instilling a lifelong love of learning in their students. The future of Muncie and Delaware County is bright with students learning from teachers like Steve Spradlin, Lisa Eckerty, and Tammy Underwood,” said Fisher.
More detailed profiles of each of the three finalists will be available this week on Ball Brothers Foundation’s facebook page.
This is the fourth year that Ball Brothers Foundation has selected an Excellence in Teaching Award winner. Spradlin joins previous award winners including Holly Stachler (Yorktown Community Schools) in 2013, Julian Ravenscroft (Daleville Community Schools) in 2014, and Renee Huffman (Burris Laboratory School) in 2015. Nominations for next year’s award will be accepted from school districts beginning September 1, 2016.
Ball Brothers Foundation grants support arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services and public affairs. In 2015, Ball Brothers Foundation paid out $6.9 million in grants, primarily to nonprofit organizations in Muncie and Delaware County. Nearly $1.7 million of this total was directed toward education-related efforts including early childhood education, K-12 education, post-secondary education, and out-of-school learning programs. Learn more about Ball Brothers Foundation at ballfdn.org.