Teaching & Leadership Awards

At the head of the class

The Excellent Schools Summit is the venue for the presentation of the three ESN Annual Awards. These honors showcase, recognize, and elevate outstanding ESN school staff members, nominated by their peers.

The ESN Instructional Leadership Award

Presented at the Excellent Schools Summit to honor and celebrate the achievement of a dedicated instructional leader who has made a tremendous impact on the achievement and growth of his or her students.

The ESN Gold Standard in Teaching Award

Presented at the Excellent Schools Summit to honor and celebrate the achievement of a dedicated teacher who has made a tremendous impact on the achievement and growth of his or her students.

The ESN Outstanding Contribution Award

Presented at the Excellent Schools Summit to honor and celebrate the contribution of a dedicated staff member who has made a tremendous impact on the growth and achievement of the school.

2014 Teaching & Leadership Awards

The ESN Gold Standard in Teaching Award

Nathan Kurisu
Valor Academy
Los Angeles, CA

In 2011, 60% of the students taught by Mr. Kurisu placed proficient or advanced. This number grew to 77% in 2012, and 79% in 2013, placing his students 30 percentage points above district average. This year, on the NWEA MAP assessments, Mr. Kurisu’s students outperformed every other grade in the school.

Mr. Kurisu leads by example, taking every opportunity to help students succeed, whether leading the school in parent phone calls or volunteering to lead an early morning tutoring hour. Mr. Kurisu leads a virtual tutoring partnership with a local private school, mentors first-year teachers to increasing levels of excellence, and is one of the two advisors for the school’s robotics team, which placed second at the Southern California competition for middle and high schools.

Kendra Heinricher, Marcy Long, and Sarah Stuntz
Excel Academy
East Boston & Chelsea, MA

For the past three years, at least 96% of students taught by Ms. Heinricher, Ms. Long, and Ms. Stuntz have achieved proficient or advanced on the state math exam, and 100% have scored proficient or advanced on the state English language arts exam.

Ms. Heinricher is the founding math department head for the Excel Network. Her work demonstrates how teachers can deeply impact curriculum design and execution across multiple schools while maintaining an active presence in their own classrooms. Ms. Stuntz sets the bar as a teacher and leader to build and sustain positive school culture as 8th grade level chair. Ms. Long has provided a model for advising and supporting teachers as they think through how to modify and accommodate rigorous content to meet diverse learning needs and styles.

Evan Jenkins
Democracy Preparatory Public Schools
Harlem, NY & Camden, NJ

100% of seniors passed the state exam in Mr. Jenkins’ math class two years ago, and 96% passed the exam last year – this compared with a statewide passing rate that hovers in the 60s and includes only students who opt to take the course. Mr. Jenkins’ math curriculum has enabled all seniors to take pre-calculus or calculus by the time they graduate, and his 9th grade honor’s geometry class allows students to take Advanced Placement calculus before leaving high school.

As department chair, Mr. Jenkins creates a relentless learning environment for all math teachers. He regularly seeks out professional development, focuses heavily on the Common Core State Standards, supports his teachers in the use of differentiation methods, and provides them with the tools they need to lead their students to excellence.

The ESN Instructional Leadership Award

Kathryn Anstaett
United Schools Network
Columbus, OH

Under Ms. Anstaett’s careful direction as a teacher and then instructional leader, student test scores soared, with 100% of 8th grade students scoring proficient or advanced on state testing for both reading and math, a full 40 percentage points ahead of the state comparison group. Similarly, 95% of 7th graders were proficient in reading and 92% were proficient in math, compared to 50% of students in the state comparison group.

Ms. Anstaett was charged with replicating success as a founding principal of USN’s second campus, with the expectation that the new school live up to the high standards of the flagship school. With great energy and incredible support for her new team, Ms. Anstaett perfected curriculum and instruction, conducting data team meetings, weekly teacher feedback sessions, and curriculum coaching. As a result, 75% of students ended the school year with more than two years of growth in math based on NWEA MAP assessments. The school, in its first year of operation, received a state report grade of “A” for overall progress and value-added.

The ESN Outstanding Contribution Award

Margaux Cornelison
Coney Island Preparatory
Brooklyn, NY

In the founding year of the school, Ms. Cornelison’s 5thgraders grew by 1.86 years in reading, ending the year at a 5.26 grade level. The following year, her next class of 5thgraders ended their year at a 5.6 grade level. The next year, as a first time math teacher, the state department of education’s growth data demonstrated that 90% of Ms. Cornelison’s students grew more than the state average for their proficiency level, earning her a perfect 20 on the state’s growth scale and the highest possible rating of “highly effective.” That year, 27% of students entered Ms. Cornelison’s class below proficient on the state exam. By the end of the year, 80% of those students were proficient and advanced proficient, ending the year with 95% proficiency.

From the start, Ms. Cornelison has welcomed opportunities to take on additional responsibilities in order to make the team work more effectively. In response to unexpected staffing changes at the start of the year, she took on additional coaching responsibilities in order to give her new principal greater capacity. In order to improve the school’s advisory system, she took it upon herself to go to a workshop on Kagan Structures and trained the staff to implement what she learned. She dove headfirst into the development opportunities presented in BES Leaders for Emerging Networks of Schools (LENS). Most recently, in addition to her grade-team-leader responsibilities, she has been tasked with coaching and mentoring her school’s most struggling teachers.