Ann Eldredge-Burns, a kindergarten teacher at Alameda Elementary School in NE Portland, has been named the second term recipient of the 2012/2013 Education Celebration Award, presented by the Oregon College Savings Plan. The Oregon College Savings Plan annually presents the Education Celebration Award to three educators – one per term – in the Oregon K-12 educational system that have motivated and inspired children to be better students. Eldredge-Burns received a $1,500 award for herself, and a $5,000 check for her school today at a ceremony in her classroom attended by current and former students and family members.
“What a surprise and delight to receive this award, and how terrific of the Oregon College Savings Plan folks to choose to celebrate our profession!” exclaimed Eldredge-Burns. “I am inspired by my kids and by my colleagues every day, and I am so lucky to get to do the work I love. Knitting those unique individuals into a community of learners and then facilitating, guiding and directing their learning is an arduous and deeply engaging job.”
More than 60 nominations were received from around the state; Eldredge-Burns received nominations from four different parents, including Amy Doan. According to Doan, Eldredge-Burns brings a passion for teaching to the classroom everyday. Doan specifically cited Eldredge-Burns’ annual owl unit, in which students read non-fiction stories about owls, watch an owl cam of live owls, dissect owl pellets, create an owl puppet to take home, write about the puppet’s experience and share it with the class, and learn about owl biology and protection from a visit with an Audubon Society expert. According to Eldredge-Burns, the owl project enables students to develop in many different areas, including science, small motor skills, reading and recall, writing, public speaking and art.
“Ann consistently goes out of her way to make lessons exciting and hands-on for her kindergarteners,” said Doan. “With every special unit that she has perfected over the years, she incorporates art with sharing time and writing. Even in our current climate of large class sizes and paltry budgets, she stays upbeat and infectiously enthusiastic, always focusing on igniting a love of learning in her class.”
Eldredge-Burns has been teaching kindergarten for 24 years; she was heading to law school when she volunteered in her own daughter’s kindergarten class and realized it was “the center of the universe.” She changed courses and found her true calling.
Alameda principal Raddy Lurie describes Eldredge-Burns as transformative with her students. “She celebrates with the kids and helps them gain confidence; they are positively different after a year in her class.”
The Education Celebration program, which began in the 2011/2012 academic year, has featured winners from Roseburg, Halsey, West Linn and Albany. In total, the Oregon College Savings Plan has awarded more than $30,000 to schools and educators since founding the program.
Nominations are now being accepted for the spring term, and may come from any Oregon resident who has the opportunity to observe an effective educator in action; to nominate an educator, visit www.oregoncollegesavings.com; nominations must be submitted by April 15, 2013.