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Suzanne Morris-Sherer is the current principal of Thomas Jefferson High school in the Denver Public School district. Morris-Sherer spent six years working as the principal of Side Creek Elementary in the Aurora Public School district after receiving her Principal Licensure from the Morgridge College of Education’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Ritchie Program.

In her three years at Thomas Jefferson, Morris-Sherer has drastically raised the status of the school. She tells her students that they “need to aspire to achieve”. By changing expectations placed upon the students and staff, she has been able to create an environment that gives the support and inspiration needed for success. “I just love seeing their potential… [Thomas Jefferson High] is truly the hidden jewel I always say it is”, stated Morris-Sherer, who has worked with the students and staff to incorporate curriculum aimed at developing life skills.

Watch the video below to experience the change at Thomas Jefferson High School.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

Adams 12 - Skyview Elementary

Adams 12 – Skyview Elementary

Stephanie Auday is in her 3rd year as principal of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools District Skyview Elementary School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Minnesota State University at Mankato before moving to Colorado to further her career in teaching. Auday spent several years as a classroom educator in the Adams 12 school district before receiving her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies through the Ritchie Program for School Leaderships in the Adams County Cohort.

Soon after graduating, Stephanie began leading in her community through three Assistant principal positions in the Adam 12 Elementary Schools. “The Ritchie program developed who I am as a leader, it focuses on beliefs and values that drive your day-to-day work”.

Auday attributes her successful career in leadership to the application of systems thinking. “Good systems allow people to be creative and successful… clear organization is key”. At Skyview Elementary, Auday has applied this principle by analyzing the school system and implementing a plan for teachers to stay an hour and a half longer together every Monday. During these Monday sessions, teachers collaborate with one another and walk away with something accomplished. “The complex nature of schooling means we (teachers) need to support each other professionally and emotionally.” This community effort continues into the rest of the week where teachers will stop in the hall or meet up in a classroom to touch base.

Auday wears her learner’s hat with her staff and is open to dialog, discussion, and pushback. She aims to empower her teachers to have the capacity to solve complex problems. “This isn’t a job you can do on your own…the goal is to live in a professional learning community,” Auday explained.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

Morgridge College of Education (MCE) Alumni and Community members gathered at Katherine Ruffatto Hall (KRH) on October 15, 2015 for the final Alumni Signature Event sponsored by the MCE Alumni Board. The event included an interview with Mark Twarogowski, MCE Alumni, PhD candidate, and current Headmaster of Denver Academy. Mark was interviewed by Robert Sheets, MCE Alumni and the first Director for the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities. The spirited interview included a conversation on the role a school’s architecture plays in fostering culture and how it affects student’s ability to learn which is the focus of Twarogowski’s current doctoral research.

The event concluded with the unveiling and dedication of the MCE Alumni Board Signature Event Honoree wall which features photos of the 17 individuals whom have presented at Alumni Signature events between 2007 and 2015. The Honoree wall is located on the 2nd floor of KRH and MCE invites anyone to stop by while visiting the college. The creation of this wall of portraits was inspired by the generosity of alumni Berwyn and Gail Davies.

MCE would like to extend a special thank you to all of our Alumni Signature Event Honored Guests.

Dr. Jerry Wartgow

Dr. Marion Downs

Dr. Camila Alire

John & Carrie Morgridge

Dr. Carolyn Mears

Dr. Gregory Anderson

Dr. Mary Gomez

Mindy Adair

Dr. Kristin Waters

Dr. Lucy Miller

Dr. Donna Shavlik

Senator Michael Johnston

Barth Quenzar

Wendy H. Davenson

Dr. Karen Riley

Mark Twarogowski

Capture

Crystal River Elementary School

Matthew Koenigsknecht is the newly appointed principal at Crystal River Elementary in the Roaring Forks School District. Inspired by six years of teaching in Denver Public Schools (DPS), he began his pursuit of a Principal licensure and Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Morgridge College of Education. Koenigsknecht completed a year as a Ritchie Principal Intern at Harrington elementary School in DPS, and has already begun applying his education at Crystal River Elementary. Aspiring leaders in the central mountain region can access the same principal preparation experience through the Mountain Cohort of the Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.

Koenigsknecht has developed three strategic priorities for his school: to identify and have fidelity to a mission and vision for the school; to implement high-quality instruction driven by data and supported by professional development and coaching; and, to develop a strong culture for students and staff by increasing their capacity.

Crystal River has successfully implemented the first initiative through Matthew’s leadership. He attributes a great deal of his success to the rich environment and support that the Richie program provided him. “Everything I learned at Ritchie was applicable and really great preparation for the work we are now doing… They taught me to have a vision and every day they stressed the importance of values-based leadership” stated Koenigsknecht.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

Trevista at Horace Mann

Trevista at Horace Mann

Jesús Rodriguez is the current elementary school principal of Trevista at Horace Mann in Denver Public Schools. Trevista is a school with turnaround status that met the expectations of the Colorado Department of Education’s school performance framework for the first time last spring under the leadership of previous principal LaDawn Baity. Baity, along with Rodriguez, is a graduate of the Morgridge College of Education’s (MCE) Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) Ritchie Program for School Leaders. Rodriguez, who is also a current ELPS Ed.D. candidate at MCE, became principal of  Trevista at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, having  worked as the assistant principal at Trevista prior.

Rodriguez is dedicated to improving student performance at Trevista, and was recently featured in Chalkbeat Colorado (“Opening a new chapter, a Denver elementary school on the rebound changes its look and feel.”) The article illustrates the dramatic changes that have occurred under the leadership of Rodriguez and how these affect student culture.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

The University of Denver’s Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy is one of six partners with lead agency  ZERO TO THREE who have been awarded a federal grant to administer the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NC ECDTL).

The grant, awarded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Head Start, and the Office of Child Care, provides $70 million over five years to fund the creation of the NC ECDTL.

A scientific framework will be used to ensure the NC ECDTL’s work will enhance best practices for implementing programs in real-world settings. “The new Center will integrate a developmental perspective in all of its activities reflecting how human brains are built – from the bottom up,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE. The Center will also develop resources and offer training and technical assistance to Head Start programs, Early Head Start programs, early childhood specialists, and child care lead agencies in order to strengthen their capacity to provide extensive and high quality early care and education from birth to age five.

The prestigious team includes Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, WestEd, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, Child Care Aware of America, and AEM Corporation.

The Center will be supported by a Research to Practice Consortium made up of 18 leading researchers in early childhood, development, teaching, and learning to ensure that its work is based on the latest early childhood research. The NC ECDTL is expected to begin operating in October 2015.

ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture development. Founded in 1977, ZERO TO THREE is a leader in the field of infants, toddlers and families – reaching more than 2 million parents each year. The organization brings together experts on parenting, child behavior and development, care and education, and public policymakers to help ensure every child from birth to three years old gets a strong start in life.

On September 25, 2015 Douglas H. Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Executive Director for the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, and Professor of Curriculum Studies and Teaching at the Morgridge College of Education, testified before members of Congress about early math education policy. Dr. Clements was invited by The Friends of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to present the research that he and Dr. Julie Sarama, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies and Professor of Curriculum Instruction at the Morgridge College of Education, have been compiling.

The briefing shed light on the role of IES and the important research it funds. The goal of the briefing was to inform policy makers on early math education so that they can make informed decisions when creating legislation related to early education and STEM learning. Topics included how young learners acquire mathematical knowledge, the impact of curricula and teaching approaches, and the effect of socio-economic background on math literacy. Other presenters included Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Ph.D from New York University, and Prentice Starkey, Ph.D from WestEd. The briefing’s principal Co-Sponsors included the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and WestED.

Photo credit to National Science Foundation Education & Human Resources

On Saturday, September 26, Share Fair Nation (SFN) hadShare Fair Nation another successful year with more than 500 teachers and education leaders and hundreds of families in attendance. This annual event brought together innovators in STEM education and offered engaging, hands-on teaching strategies designed to ignite the imaginations of today’s diverse PreK-12 students.

SFN which began in Denver in 2009 was created by John and Carrie Morgridge, philanthropists leading the Morgridge Fami
ly Foundation (MFF) and longtime ambassadors for the University of Denver. It was designed to provide PreK-12 educators the opportunity to discover emergent technologies and discover firsthand the most effective approaches to delivering 21st Century education.

The morning kicked off with an exciting art performance and presentation by key note speaker, Erik Wahl, an internationally renowned graffiti artist and best-selling author. Erik encouraged audience members to tap into their passion for lifelong learning by exploring the power of creativity to achieve superior performance.

The remainder of the day was filled with engaging interactive sessions for families and educators. At the Ritchie Center Magness Arena, STEMosphere was at full capacity as exhibitors showcased innovation and creativity and guests participated in STEM-oriented interactive exhibits that were hands-on, minds-on adventures for all. With more than 15 exhibitions on the floor, exhibitors ranged from The Denver Zoo to SeaPearch, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science to KEVA Planks.

At the Morgridge College of Education, teachers and education leaders had an opportunity to participate in 20+ hands-on Classroom Intensives. These sessions were filled with thought provoking and interactive activities and discussions on topics such as Design Thinking, Heart Lab, Game-Based Learning, and Problem-Based Learning. Attendees were able to receive University of Denver Certificates of Completion for Contact Hours for sessions they attended.

Lessons learned at SFN extend beyond the event as attendees carry back to their schools, fellow teachers, and classrooms the new and creative education methods they learned, propelling schools across the country toward even greater 21st Century learning opportunities. “Share Fair Nation exemplifies Morgridge College of Education’s commitment to life-long learning through professional development. We believe that as a College, our responsibility to teachers extends beyond pre-service to ongoing teacher development and support through innovative, hands-on learning.” Said Karen Riley, Dean of the Morgridge College of Education.

The exciting day came to a close at the Morgridge College of Education with attendees joining Share fair Nation founder, Carrie Morgridge, outside for prizes, which included Ipads, Chromebooks, Kindles, STEM kits, subscriptions, and much more.


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