Microsoft’s U.S. Innovative Education Forum Awards Teachers Who Creatively Use Technology

REDMOND, Wash. — April 25, 2011 — Twenty-nine teachers from 14 states have been selected as first-round finalists to showcase the unique ways they are using technology in and beyond their classrooms at the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF), presented by Microsoft Partners in Learning. The U.S. IEF is a showcase of talented educators from around the country, and Microsoft Corp. will honor these teachers for creatively and effectively using technology in their curriculum to increase student engagement and success. At the forum, educators will have the opportunity to learn from and network with other teachers, allowing them to share and discover new ways to better prepare students for the future.

Examples of the finalists’ innovative teaching methods include attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs through the use of problem-solving concepts, technical skills and entrepreneurship; the development of anti-bullying campaigns using technology in the classroom; new approaches to teach and personalize learning of math, history and earth science; as well as new strategies for electronic portfolios, paperless writing environments and gaming combined with service-learning.

“I’m thrilled to see such a high caliber of applications from teachers who are using technology in their classrooms that can be scaled and taught in classrooms all across the country,” said Andrew Ko, senior director, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “These remarkable educators take their passion for teaching, and inspire and equip students with the 21st century skills they need to compete in a globally competitive workforce.”

Educators have until May 15 to apply to participate in this year’s event. Microsoft will select up to 100 innovative teachers to participate in the U.S. IEF July 28–29 at the Microsoft campus in Redmond. At that event, Microsoft will select finalists who will go on to represent the U.S. at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6–11. The finalists must qualify for the event through a competitive application process and are selected based on project collaboration, knowledge building, extended learning beyond the classroom, and the use of Microsoft technology or technologies that support the project. Find more information on helping students succeed through the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum.

These are the first-round finalists selected to attend this year’s U.S. IEF event:


  • Kelli Etheredge, St. Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile)

  • Carrie Stuart, St. Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile)


  • Nathan Manderfeld, James Monroe Elementary School (Bermuda)

  • Margaret Noble and David Stahnke, High Tech High Media Arts (San Diego)


  • Gwynn Moore and Shannon Wentworth, Paris Elementary School and Sixth Avenue Elementary School (Aurora)

  • Cheryl Arnett, Sunset Elementary School (Craig)

  • Amy Jones and Melany Neton, Sunset Elementary School (Craig)


  • Suzanne Banas, Ph.D., South Miami Middle Community School (Miami)


  • Kristen Drake, Hightower Elementary School (Doraville)


  • Karel Sloane-Boekbinder, C.F. Rowley Alternative School (Chalmette)


  • Tasha Candela, Lake Shore High School (Clair Shores)

New Mexico

  • Donna Hazen, Mosquero Municipal Schools (Mosquero)


  • Carmela Curatola-Knowles and Kathy Krupa, Hatboro-Horsham School District (Horsham)

  • Valerie Fasy and Diane Heitzenrater, Keith Valley Middle School (Horsham)

  • Laurence Goldberg and Shalon Doctor, Willow Hill Elementary School (Willow Grove)

South Carolina

  • Doug Bergman, Porter-Gaud School (Charleston)


  • Lynne Zalesak, Jackson Middle School (Houston)


  • Donna Pence, Beacon Heights Elementary School (Salt Lake City)


  • Toni Rader and Nick Grzeda, Loudoun County High School (Leesburg)

  • Patricia King and Laura Rahn, Mountain View Elementary School (Purcellville)


  • Colin Horak, Franklin Pierce High School (Tacoma)

Descriptions of the teachers’ projects can be found on our TeachTec blog at

At the 2011 U.S. IEF, teachers will have the opportunity to hear keynote presentations from Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., and Dr. John Medina.

McGonigal is the creative director for Social Chocolate, where she builds games powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection. She currently serves as the director of Game Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit research group in Palo Alto, Calif. Her research focuses on how games transform the way people lead their lives, and how games can be used to increase resilience and well-being. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.”

Medina is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders; in his speeches, he makes brain science fun and accessible. Medina will guide the teachers through his 12 Brain Rules, including why multitasking is a myth and how every student’s brain is wired differently. Medina is a faculty member at both the University of Washington School of Medicine, as an affiliate professor of Bioengineering, and Seattle Pacific University, as the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of the “Brain Rules” books.

About Microsoft Partners in Learning and the Innovative Education Forum

Microsoft is committed to helping teachers tap into their potential and empowering them to cultivate strong leaders of the future. Microsoft Partners in Learning is a 10-year, nearly $500 million commitment by Microsoft to help education systems around the world. Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 196 million teachers and students in 114 countries. Partners in Learning helps teachers and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share so students can realize their greatest potential. The online Partners in Learning Network is one of the world’s largest global professional networks for educators, connecting millions of teachers and school leaders around the world in a community of professional development.

The Worldwide Innovative Education Forum is the signature program of Microsoft Partners in Learning, honoring innovative teachers and schools and showcasing how technology can further education transformation by being appropriately incorporated into curricula, pedagogy and classrooms.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

Related Posts