BENTONVILLE, AR, NOV. 2, 2006 – A visual arts teacher who uses creative expression to infuse knowledge and understanding of cultural differences in her students has been named the Wal-Mart National Teacher of the Year. Shauna Carey of Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Champaign, Ill., was selected from a pool of state winners from all 50 states and Puerto Rico in the 11th year of Wal-Mart’s teacher recognition program.
The national award was announced during a surprise ceremony at the Douglass Community Center in Champaign. Representatives from Wal-Mart joined students, teachers and local dignitaries to honor Carey. As part of the award, Carey’s school received a $25,000 educational grant from Wal-Mart. Additional grants from Wal-Mart for state and local recognitions Carey earned earlier this year in the program bring total contributions to the school to $36,000. During the ceremony, Wal-Mart also unveiled a model of a greenhouse being donated to the school as part of Carey’s dream of having an outdoor classroom her entire school can utilize.
The National Teacher of the Year program is a part of Wal-Mart’s long-term commitment to support education throughout the United States. The program will provide $4.9 million this year to schools across the country in honor of top teachers. Since its inception in 1995, Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year program has recognized more than 26,000 teachers nationwide. This year, the company will contribute more than $45 million in support of educational initiatives.
Carey’s Unique Teaching Style
Carey was selected as the nation’s best teacher because of her unique teaching style. Creating an atmosphere of self-discovery and self-expression is the foundation of Carey’s classroom, and from that she brings insight and understanding into the diversity of her students. By initiating classroom scheduling changes, Carey brings together students from the school’s bilingual, regular education and self-contained gifted classrooms to study art, share languages and explore their academic talents in a cooperative learning environment. Carey also works with fellow teachers to adapt their curriculum to students’ art experiences so that pottery, paint and photography become a catalyst to understanding reading, writing, math and science.
Carey’s nomination for Teacher of the Year was submitted by one of her co-workers at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Champaign last spring. She was recognized as Wal-Mart’s Illinois State Teacher of the Year earlier in September.
"As a company, we are proud to recognize a teacher like Shauna Carey for her efforts to embrace different cultures, and teach tolerance and understanding," said Bob McAdam, vice president of Wal-Mart Corporate Affairs. “Teachers like Carey are why it is so important that Wal-Mart celebrate educators and their accomplishments every year."
In addition to her Wal-Mart teaching honors, Carey has received the Champaign Urbana School Foundation Common Threads Award to promote literacy and problem solving through the arts, the Illinois State Board of Education Team Award for Those Who Excel and the WICD TV Golden Apple Teacher Award. She also led fourth and fifth grade students to winning the One Nation Fact-astic Contest from Capstone Press. Carey was selected as a Fulbright Memorial Fund Japan program recipient in 1999, being one of the first in her school district to be selected.
How the Program Winners Are Selected
Local winners were named in May by each Wal-Mart store, Sam’s Club and distribution center. These winners were chosen based on community nominations. Each teacher’s school received a $1,000 donation in their honor during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Local winners had the option to complete a comprehensive application form for the state winner phase to be reviewed by Phi Delta Kappa international professional education association. State winners were announced this fall and were automatically considered for the National Teacher of the Year award.
“Ms. Carey represents the thousands of outstanding teachers who are committed to our nation’s youth,” said Dr. William Bushaw, executive director of Phi Delta Kappa. “We are delighted to be a partner in a program that recognizes classroom teachers who enrich the lives of the students and who serve as the leaders in their communities.”
According to Bushaw, several criteria were used to evaluate the applications of the state and national winners. Applicants answered four questions with each response limited to 250 words; judges gave each answer a numerical score.
1. What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to students?
2. What self-initiated practices, programs or projects have you implemented to produce a high level of student achievement?
3. What do you consider to be the three most critical issues in education that affect students? Address one of these issues by describing how you attempt to respond to it.
4. At what level and degree are you involved in community volunteer work? Describe how your involvement has influenced your teaching.
Applicants also submitted two letters of recommendation – one from an immediate supervisor and one from a colleague, a community member, a student’s parent or a student.
About Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, Sam’s Clubs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.