Nominations sought for 2013-14 Linda Brown Fellows awards

Laura Abbey Brown
Special to the Sun
Courtesy photo
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Teachers are so much more than educators. They are a critical part of the team that raises our children.

These individuals are tasked with the job of shaping our youth through their educational journey. Their job description may revolve around reading, writing and arithmetic, but we all know they teach our kids so much more. Teachers see students almost on a daily basis observing their highs and lows, wiping noses, explaining life and often acting as a counselor or just listening. When you stop and think about it, many teachers spend more waking hours in the day with our children than we do as parents.

Each year, the Excellence in Education Foundation accepts nominations for the Linda Brown Fellows Awards, which offers an opportunity for our community to acknowledge exceptional teachers in our school district. Last year, the Foundation received more than 100 nominations filled with experiences and heartfelt stories of teachers who go “above and beyond” for their students.

The Fellows Program was created more than 15 years ago to help promote and acknowledge excellence in education. The award is named in honor of Linda Brown, a long-time teacher in the school district and a past president of the Excellence in Education Foundation, who set an example as an educator and a leader in our community. The honor is presented to outstanding teachers who demonstrate originality, innovation and dedication to the teaching profession.

Each recipient receives $2,000 for enhancing educational work within the school district, and $1,000 for their personal use.

The Foundation is asking the community to help identify and celebrate more of these wonderful educators for the 2013-2014 awards.

Award nominations are now open and may come from parents, students and community members, as well as any TTUSD faculty or staff member. Self-nominations or nominations from Excellence in Education board members will not be accepted.

Nomination forms can be found at all district schools, or online at Nominations must be postmarked or received by Thursday, May 2, 2013. The 2013-2014 recipients will be announced in the fall.

For more information, please call 530-550-7984 or visit

2012-2013 Linda Brown Fellows Award Recipients

The 2012-2013 Linda Brown Fellows Award recipients were announced at the beginning of the school year. The following excerpts were taken from the recipients’ nominations.

Sherry BurnsSullivan, Truckee Elementary: “Always an advocate of play-based, hands on learning, Truckee Elementary teacher Sherry BurnsSullivan incorporates ‘get your hands dirty’ science and field trips, classical music and plays to inspire her class on to ‘happy learning.’ She is a world traveler and shares her wealth of cultural literacy and knowledge with her students.”

Rita Moring, Tahoe Lake Elementary: “Rita Moring is the poster girl for English Language Development (ELD)! One of our district’s greatest successes has been at this teacher’s school with the meteoric API (Academic Performance Index) score rise of 26 points in one year. Her goal has been to assure that students reach proficiency in English and she has achieved huge growth in this area.”

Amalia Niewendorp, Truckee Elementary: “Amalia Niewendorp, Truckee Elementary Kindergarten teacher, makes it personal for all of her students. Students are greeted with boxes of books especially chosen for their reading level, which enables them to read mid-year of Kindergarten. She creates a class of students that are a community of learners who respect and love one another. She helps with Harvest of the Month, kindergarten projects and PTO.”

Jennifer Smith, Truckee High School: “Special Education teacher, Jennifer Smith works with students who have a multitude of learning and physical difficulties. She helps them develop occupational skills that allow special needs students to get into work environments such as the Humane Society and Thrift Store, which provide them with valuable real life experiences.”

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