Barth Quenzer, Teacher Education Program graduate and DU change agent, was recently recognized for his exceptional teaching at Brown International Academy when he received the $25,000 Milken Educator Award. Barth’s passion for helping kids and active involvement in writing new art standards for Colorado contribute to the qualities that make Barth a model teacher for the state and the nation. With a natural tendency to teach and engage his classroom, Barth is impacting the way his students view and learn art.

At Brown International Academy, Quenzer has established a classroom for kindergarten through fifth grade students that isn’t just about teaching art, but teaching students to be artists.  Quenzer created a collaborative art space for his students to be artists in their specific talents, working together toward a greater vision. Barth also runs the after-school art club further elaborating on the importance of collaboration and community when it comes to understanding art.

Starting in 1985, the Milken Educator Awards were created to give educators the recognition they deserve. The Milken Educator Awards celebrate and ignite excellence in the education sector. Each year, outstanding teachers across the nation are selected to receive the Milken Educator Awards based on instructional practices, educational accomplishments, contributions to education, and inspiring classroom presence. Quenzer was one of the 40 teachers recognized nationwide this year by the Milken Family Foundation. Like many Milken Educators, Barth is and will continue to be an agent of change in reforming and strengthening K-12 education for years to come.

Among other professional achievements, Barth has also been awarded the 2012 Elementary Art Educator of the Year from the Colorado Art Education Association (CAEA) and the 2009 Mile High Teacher of the Year Award. Barth has been selected to serve as Content Collaborative member by the Colorado Department of Education to develop assessment and effective teaching strategies in visual arts.

Barth was Morgridge College of Education’s featured guest for the Winter Signature Event on January 17, 2013.

Find out more about Barth and the Milken Educator awards here


Author of award-winning research into the aftermath of the Columbine shootings and other tragedies, Mears is internationally known for her work in support of communities, schools, and families devastated by traumatic events. The gateway approach, her innovative design for qualitative research, is widely used by researchers seeking to learn from the experiences of others.

“The Morgridge College of Education encourages original thinking and making a positive difference in the lives of others. First-rate faculty provide an intellectually stimulating environment and prepare students to make their work both meaningful and practical. I deeply appreciate MCE’s support of my efforts to transform research into practice that helps people reclaim their lives after experiencing trauma.”

Was named one of the seven most powerful educators in the US by Forbes Magazine and was selected as an educational advisor to the President during his 2008 campaign. Sen. Johnston represents Northeast Denver in the state legislature and relentlessly advocates for Colorado students by sponsoring bills such as ASSET, the READ Act and SB-191, which overhauled teacher evaluation and tenure in the state. He also spent six years as a principal and two years teaching high school English in the Mississippi Delta.

“DU gave me the opportunity to be both a practitioner and a policy maker, providing a rare opportunity to problem solve education’s most vexing challenges alongside a cohort of committed and courageous leaders. Rather than purely academic exercises, every part of the experience was geared towards how to lead transformative schools.”

Karen Riley - Desk

Dr. Riley is known internationally for her research in early childhood intervention and assessment, neurodevelopmental disorders (specifically Fragile X Syndrome and XXYY Disorder), and effective identification and intervention for children and families with other neurodevelopmental disorders. Riley lectures extensively across the country and has been involved in several initial awareness and outreach efforts internationally, including the first conference and clinic on Fragile X syndrome and Autism in the Middle East (Dubai), in Asia (Tawain), in Central America (Guatemala), and in India.

“Having the Fisher Early Learning Center located directly across the street from Ruffatto Hall and the Ricks Center for Gifted Children a block away affords many resources and opportunities for Morgridge students. Our InContext approach to learning and the new partnerships generated will open many new doors for both our students and faculty.”

Dr. Camila Alire became President of the American Library Association and has been nominated by the President of the United States for the National Council of the Humanities. Obama’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate for the position in early 2013.

“The Library and Information Science program at MCE was instrumental in preparing me to serve as a change agent in all my positions. I developed a stronger sense of self while in the program — enough to allow me to lead a 60,000 member professional association and to be awarded the first American Library Association’s Elizabeth Futas’ Catalyst for Change Award.”

Chairman of the Morgridge College of Education Alumni Board, Sheets is known as the keeper of the torch (appropriately,his ancestor held the two lanterns in the Steeple of Old North Church for Paul Revere). He has been an innovative force in arts education as the first Director of the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities, the National Chairman of all the State Arts Councils in American, and worked with the National Endowment for the Arts. As an arts consultant, Sheets’ work extended to California, Hawaii and American Samoa.“Since my graduation from DU in 1961, I have witnessed a dramatic evolution for the University and, particularly,for the College of Education. A great university merits a great school of education, and the Morgridge College of Education is just that. We have a commitment to the highest quality of preparation for all educators. Morgridge not only trains the best teachers, the College also enlightens the human spirit.”

This year, Morgridge College of Education is all about “Blooming Relationships” with current and future Community Partners. In April, MCE held its annual appreciation breakfast for community partners who are connected to the College in ways that are making lasting changes in our community. From school districts, to university and public libraries, to the Colorado Department of Education, our community partners are helping disseminate change across our city and our state.

The following Community Partners and Adjunct Faculty have been recognized for their commitment to and impact on Morgridge College of Education.

  • Cathy Martin – Director of Mathematics and Science for Denver Public Schools
  • Floyd Cobb – Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Cherry Creek Schools and MCE Adjunct Professor in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Anderson Academic Commons – University of Denver Library Faculty
  • Marybeth Lehto – Lehto RMS Consulting and MCE Adjunct Professor in Research Methods and Statics
  • Barbara Bieber – School Psychology Consultant at Colorado Department of Education
  • Michael Faragher – Director of Problem Gambling Treatment and Research Center, MCE Adjunct Professor in Counseling Psychology

Together, Morgridge College of Education and its Community Partners are making lasting changes to the theories, policy and practice of education. With the help of our community partners, MCE students, faculty and staff have the opportunity for InContext Learning – practicing theory in real-world settings and conducting research in the areas and organizations that need it most.

Through these partnerships, the experience of residents, teachers and practitioners meets the technical knowledge of researchers, professors and students to calibrate our educational system towards equity and social justice. These “Blooming Relationships” impact individuals, families and organizations by providing InContext Learning opportunities and by building a foundation of research for the betterment of our world.

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