Parkway e-News Story

ALBERT AWARD Winners Selected

Faced with a pool of especially outstanding nominees this year, the Parkway Alumni Association has selected four instead of the usual three teachers to receive the 2012 Albert Awards. The award recognizes teachers who have been teaching for five years or less, and who show extraordinary promise and potential as educators. Its namesake is former Parkway principal and educator Dr. Al Burr.

The winning teachers were presented with their initial recognition in their schools. All four will receive a $1,000 stipend and will be honored at Parkway’s Appreciation Evening on April 23.

Congratulations to the following teachers:

Frank (Chip) Darr, Green Trails Elementary

Now in his fourth year of teaching, Chip Darr values what individual students have to offer. He strives to connect with students on a personal level and then teach them in a motivating way. He holds high expectations for his students and encourages them to create work that is meaningful to them, without labeling their work “right” or “wrong.”

Darr initiated the school’s Empty Bowl project to make students more aware of hunger issues in the community. Clay bowls are created and sold by fifth-grade students, and the money is donated to a local food bank.

Darryl Diggs, Jr., South Middle School

When he teaches sixth-grade science, Darryl Diggs tries to be innovative. He loves labs and hands-on learning. He uses technology as a tool in the classroom and does a great job of developing interdisciplinary lessons. But the lessons his students remember long after the unit is finished are the ones when he blows things up!

Now in his fifth year of teaching, Diggs’ greatest strength as an educator is his ability to connect with students. He is intramural chairperson at South Middle and attends many activities after school to support students and his colleagues.

Joel May, Alternative Discipline Center

Not many first-year teachers would choose to work with suspended students. But Joel May possesses a clear understanding of his students’ struggles while being committed to their education and well-being.

May’s classroom consists of students in grades six through 12. He successfully keeps them engaged and focused in communication arts. He works tirelessly to establish relationships and to provide them with individualized assignments that both challenge and captivate them. He also uses physical exercise and chess to engage them in constructive activities during study breaks.

Karen Diekroeger, Fern Ridge High School

To reach students at Fern Ridge, a teacher must connect with them both as a teacher and a friend. In addition, the curriculum must be differentiated and relevant. Karen Diekroeger understands this perfectly.

For the past three years, she has dedicated her career to this special population of students. She is committed to ensuring that they achieve the same or greater level of success as their traditional high school counterparts. Her enthusiasm for learning and her uncanny wisdom benefit both her students and colleagues.