Monday, June 11, 2012

KIPP Ujima Founding Teacher Brad Nornhold was named Baltimore City Schools' Teacher of the Year!

Amazing news: KIPP Ujima Founding Teacher Brad Nornhold was named Baltimore City Schools' Teacher of the Year!

Dear Friend of KIPP Baltimore,

I am absolutely thrilled to share with you that KIPP Ujima Founding Teacher Brad Nornhold was named Baltimore City Schools' Teacher of the Year! We are incredibly proud of him!

Over the past ten years, I have had the honor and privilege of working with many extremely talented and dedicated people who have led children in Baltimore City to achieve at the highest levels. From the very beginning, Brad has been an integral part of this team and family. I vividly remember the days of meeting with Brad and our other founding staff members every week, in the spring of 2002, at food courts throughout the Baltimore area (we didn't have a building yet!), and planning every aspect of KIPP Ujima Village Academy (some of which is still present at the school, and some of which we learned the hard way needed to change!). And I remember within a few weeks of the school starting, students, parents, and staff could all see that Brad had a phenomenal approach to inspiring students to work very hard and build excellent character, to holding students accountable to the highest academic and character expectations, and to ensuring that every student achieves at high levels. Most students started in August 2002 saying that math was their least-favorite subject and they were not good at math, and by September most said they loved math and were good at it. His effectiveness was immediately apparent, and over the years it has been confirmed again and again. Almost every year that Brad has taught at KIPP, he has led his students to achieve the highest math scores in Baltimore on the Maryland School Assessment in the grade level that he has taught, and he typically leads students to achieve some of the highest scores in the state - in 2011, his students achieved the fourth-highest scores in Maryland.

Just looking at Brad's trajectory in terms of grade levels during his time at Ujima tells you a lot about how much Brad cares about his students, as people and as learners. For Brad's first three years at Ujima, he taught fifth grade. Toward the end of that third year, he missed his former students so much that he decided he wanted to teach seventh grade, to reunite with them, and stay with them through the end of the eighth grade. Ever since, he has taught two-year cycles - teaching a seventh-grade class and then "looping" with them through the end of eighth grade.

Students are so appreciative of how much Brad cares about them and how much he teaches them that they stay in contact with him well beyond their time at Ujima; our alumni in college keep in touch with him. The KIPP Through College team and I know that if we are having trouble tracking down an alum, the first place we go is Brad!

People often ask what the secret of KIPP's success is - the extra time, the uniforms, the college focus, the high expectations for behavior? I always tell people that the answer is quite simple - the people. We have a phenomenal staff at KIPP Baltimore, and that is why our students achieve. Brad and his founding colleagues set the stage for that back in 2002, and he is still raising the bar ten years later. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Brad!

Click here to read City Schools' press release. And look out for stories about Brad on the evening news and in the Baltimore Sun. Thank you!



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