Microsoft Announces Second-Round Finalists for U.S. Innovative Education Forum

REDMOND, Wash., June 8, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the selection of 72 additional educators to attend the 2011 Microsoft U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF). These second-round finalists will join the previously announced finalists traveling to the Microsoft campus in Redmond in July to showcase the creative ways they are using technology in the classroom. This year, Microsoft Partners in Learning saw a record number of submissions from teachers transforming their classroom curriculum using technology.

Of the many applications from individual teachers, partners and schools, 78 outstanding educator projects stood out that address tangible, real-life issues for students, such as blended learning, service learning and civic engagement, working with social media in education, creating entrepreneurship opportunities, assistive technologies, and the application of gaming as it relates to learning.

Presented by Microsoft Partners in Learning, the U.S. Innovative Education Forum celebrates outstanding school leaders for using technology in their classroom curriculum to enhance positive learning outcomes while increasing student engagement and success. Teachers who apply to attend the U.S. IEF are evaluated based on the learning philosophy and goals of their project submission, their use of technology in the project, and their ability to demonstrate examples of student work and achievement connected with the project.

“The school leaders selected to attend IEF are the best in the nation at incorporating technology into their classroom curricula to enhance each lesson and really break through with students,” said Andrew Ko, senior director, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “It is inspiring to see these educators use technology to get students excited about learning and connected to the issues impacting their lives while developing the skills they will need for a successful future.”

Educators who attend the celebratory event will network and share their teaching best practices with peers, engage in learning excursions to Seattle landmarks, participate in hands-on learning sessions with Microsoft’s latest technologies, and present their projects to a panel of judges. Ten projects will be selected to represent the United States at the Partners in Learning Global Forum this November in Washington, D.C., where they will compete against educators from across the globe.

These are the 72 second-round finalists selected to attend the U.S. Innovative Education Forum:


  • Jason Arthur, Highland Tech High School (Anchorage)


  • Donna Mackin, St Paul’s Episcopal School (Mobile)


  • Shannon Nuckolls and Niki Hart, Sierra Verde STEM Academy (Glendale)


  • Suzanne Scotten and Olivia Conn, EV Cain STEM Charter School (Auburn)

  • Kevin Crosby, Independence High School (Bakersfield)

  • Angela Sveda, Ralston Middle School (Belmont)

  • Corey Bess, Valley Middle School (Carlsbad)

  • Daphne Bradford, Crenshaw High School (Los Angeles)

  • Meg Omainsky, Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto)

  • Corinne Takara, Horace Cureton Elementary (San Jose)


  • Misty Jones, Sunset Elementary School (Craig)

  • Laura Voorhees, Hayden Valley Elementary School (Hayden)

  • Shelley Stetler, Adams 12 Five Star Schools (Thornton)


  • Lisa Fenn and Laura McDonnell, Roaring Brook Elementary School (Avon)


  • Denise Spence, Dunbar High School (Fort Myers)

  • Louis Zulli Jr., Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High School (St. Petersburg)


  • Sean O’Brady, Sunrise Elementary School, and Michael Winston, Hobbs Middle School (Shelley)


  • Emily Richardson and Aubrey Ludwig, Naperville North High School (Chicago)

  • Aaron Fay, Highland Park High School (Highland Park)


  • Don Wettrick, Franklin Community High School (Franklin)


  • Margaret Simon, Jefferson Island Road and Center Street Elementary schools (New Iberia)


  • Saba Ghole, NuVu Studio (Cambridge)

  • Colleen Werner, Ipswich High School (Ipswich)

  • Roni Gold, Rebecca M. Johnson School (Springfield)


  • Donna Thomas, Sherwood High School (Sandy Spring)


  • John Prepolec, Bloomfield Hills Middle School (Bloomfield Hills)

  • Pauline Roberts, Birmingham Covington School (Bloomfield Hills)


  • Mike Fitzgerald, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (St. Louis)

North Carolina

  • Mathew Kelly, The Academy for International Studies at Independence High School (Charlotte)

  • Shea Grisham, A.B. Combs Leadership Elementary School (Raleigh)

New Jersey

  • Kim Leegan, Union Catholic Regional High School (Scotch Plains)

New York

  • Vincent Interrante, Mineola Middle School (Mineola)

  • Barbara Bonnani and Marcia Sterenbuch, Old Bethpage Elementary School (Old Bethpage)


  • Robert Baker and Dr. Greg Martin, Cincinnati Country Day School (Cincinnati)

  • Milton Turner, Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland)

  • Kacy Carter, Jackson Memorial Middle School (Massillon)


  • Melanie Wiscount, Palmyra Area High School (Palmyra)

  • Frank Machos, School of the Future (Philadelphia)

  • Thomas Gaffey and Elizabeth Harvey, School of the Future (Philadelphia)


  • Kelly Huddleston, Franklin Road Academy (Nashville)


  • Elsa Holm and Erika Timmons, Ginnings Elementary School, (Denton)

  • Robyn Hrivnatz and Sarah Bauguss, Katy ISD (Katy)

  • Joli Brock, Slaughter Elementary (McKinney)

  • Johnny Kissko, Frenship High School (Wolfforth)


  • Cynthia Feist and Tara Jeffs, Loudoun County Public Schools (Ashburn)

  • Ashley Hickcox and Amanda Arman, Fairhill Elementary School (Fairfax)

  • Nancy Morris, George H. Moody Middle School (Henrico)


  • Cheryl McClure, Meridian Middle School (Kent)

  • Robin Hoover, Finn Hill Junior High (Kirkland)

  • Matt Palmer and Kim West, Lake Washington School District (Redmond)

  • Bret Crane, Redmond Junior High (Redmond)

  • Carrie Calonzo and Rebecca Winbauer Glenridge Elementary School (Renton)

  • Jamie Ewing, Mount View Elementary School (Seattle)

  • Michelle Zimmerman, Amazing Grace Christian School (Seattle)

  • Betsy Weigle, Adams Elementary School (Spokane)

  • Kenneth Ryan Olden, White Swan High School (Yakima)

Washington, D.C.

  • Gideon Sanders and David Pinder, McKinley Technology High School (Washington, D.C.)

More information about the teachers selected to attend this year’s U.S. Innovative Education Forum and their projects, including first-round finalists, is available on the Microsoft TeachTec blog.

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 to honor innovative teachers and schools, and to showcase how technology can further education transformation by being appropriately incorporated into curricula, pedagogy and classrooms.

The U.S. IEF is one of a series of regional forums taking place around the world. Now in its seventh year, this annual event is designed to promote the sharing of exceptional practices of 21st century learning that incorporate technology in the classroom and school, recognize and celebrate leading educators and innovative schools in the United States, and engage educators intellectually while offering opportunities to collaborate and learn from peers across the country.

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

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