Friday, September 29, 2006

Wendy Kopp wins McGraw Prize in Education

Kudos to Wendy Kopp for this great honor.
The 2006 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education honors three significant innovators -- Norman R. Augustine, Wendy Kopp and Vincent D. Murray -- who have brought a deep, steady commitment to the improvement of education in the United States.

Leaders in Teacher Development, STEM and High School Reform Honored With 2006 McGraw Prize in Education

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NEW YORK, Sep. 28, 2006 (PR Newswire delivered by Newstex) -- The 2006 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education honors three significant innovators -- Norman R. Augustine, Wendy Kopp and Vincent D. Murray -- who have brought a deep, steady commitment to the improvement of education in the United States. Announced by Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies, the honorees were recognized recently at a dinner at the New York Public Library.

"There remain both exciting and unsettling challenges in this still new Century, from the impact of globalization to the application of new technologies. This year's McGraw Prize winners embrace innovative changes in education that will best serve the need of today's students as they address these challenges," said Mr. McGraw. "From a business leader who gave as much time to education reform as to running one of the largest corporations in America, to a former college student who turned a senior thesis into a successful national program, to a high school principal who transformed expectations and achievement levels for faculty and students, the 2006 McGraw Prize Winners show us the impact creative spirit can have."

The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education in this country and whose accomplishments are making a difference today. Honorees are chosen by a distinguished panel of judges made up of thoughtful and influential members of the education community. Each winner receives a gift of $25,000 and a bronze sculpture. The Prize was established in 1988 to honor Mr. McGraw's lifelong commitment to education, and to mark the Corporation's 100th anniversary.

"For nearly 20 years of awarding the McGraw Prize, I am always struck by the winners' level of passion to help all students, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances," added Mr. McGraw. "The 2006 McGraw Prize honorees are tackling some of the most pressing issues we face in education today -- STEM, teacher professional development and secondary school performance -- with dedication, innovation and a creative spirit difficult to match."

The winners of the 19th annual McGraw Prize are:

Norman R. Augustine -- The retired chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Norman R. Augustine, remains very active in both business and philanthropic pursuits. He recently chaired the National Academies Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy, which produced the highly acclaimed report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm.

Augustine served many positions with the federal government, including acting secretary of the U.S. Army. He is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the advisory board to the Department of Homeland Security, and five times was awarded the U.S. Department of Defense's highest civilian decoration, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Wendy Kopp -- Wendy Kopp is the president and founder of Teach For America, the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates. These dedicated individuals commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools, and become lifelong leaders in pursuit of educational excellence and equity. Teach For America's mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our country's most promising future leaders in the effort.

In 1989, Kopp proposed the creation of Teach For America in her undergraduate senior thesis and has spent the last 16 years working to sustain and grow the organization. Today, more than 4,400 corps members are teaching in our country's neediest communities, reaching approximately 375,000 students. They join more than 12,000 Teach For America alumni who are already assuming significant leadership roles in education and social reform.

Vincent D. Murray -- Vincent D. Murray, principal of Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia since 1991, has led the transformation of an inner- city public school into a higher achieving institution in which graduation and college-going rates have consistently risen above the district and state averages.

Sixty-six percent of Grady High students are African American and 44 percent qualify for free or reduced price lunch. When Murray joined Grady High, more than a third of all freshmen were held back and repeated their freshman year. The student body's passing rate on the Georgia graduation test was far below the statewide average. With Murray's innovative reform efforts, today, four out of every five Grady High graduates go directly into colleges or universities, including Ivy League institutions.

Past honorees include: Barbara Bush, founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy; James B. Hunt, Jr., former Governor of North Carolina; former U.S. Secretaries of Education Richard Riley and Rod Paige; Carl Cohn, former Superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District (now Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District, California); Yvonne Chan, Ed.D., Principal, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center; Mary E. Diaz, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Alverno College; and Dennis Littky, Co-Director of The Met and Director of the Principal Residency Network. In 2005, the honorees were: Barbara Taylor Bowman, Co-Founder, Erikson Institute; Sharon Lynn Kagan, Associate Dean for Policy and Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy, Teachers College; and Ellen Moir, Executive Director, New Teacher Center, University Of California, Santa Cruz.

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