2012 Brock Prize Nominees

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Gloria Ladson Billings
Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education and Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Nominated By: Khaula Murtadha

Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings is the Kellner Family Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the author of three critically acclaimed books,The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children and Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms. She completed an MA in education at the University of Washington and a PhD in curriculum and teacher education at Stanford University. Ladson-Billings is credited with coining the term "culturally responsive pedagogy," and is one of the leaders in the field of culturally relevant teaching. Her more recent book Beyond the Big House: African American Educators on Teacher Education (2005), profiles seven prominent African American teacher educators—Cherry McGee Banks, Lisa Delpit, Geneva Gay, Carl Grant, Joyce King, Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, and William Tate—developing an understanding of how these African American scholars have shaped their relationship with the academy.

Ladson Billings is a past president of the American Educational Research Association. Among her accomplishments as AERA president was a presidential address that aimed to redefine the "achievement gap" as "educational debt" - highlighting the social, political and economic factors that have disproportionately affected children of color in U.S. schools. Ladson-Billings has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education and has been a senior fellow in urban education of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Her scholarly awards include the H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, the Palmer O. Johnson outstanding research award, a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the George and Louise Spindler Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education for significant and ongoing contributions to the field of educational anthropology.


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Leon Botstein
President of Bard College
Nominated By: Jeanne Folley Butler

An innovative voice in American higher education, Leon Botstein has been president of Bard College since 1975. Botstein is a leading advocate of progressive education. He is the author of Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture and Judentum und Modernitaet and has published widely on music, education, history, and culture. In his work, he has sought to recast undergraduate liberal arts education in a new model that contributes to the character of culture and public life in the service of freedom and democracy. He graduated at age 16 from the High School of Music and Art in New York, and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in music history. He credits David Landes and Harold Farberman as his mentors.


He is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all students. President Botstein also serves as the Board Chairman of the Central European University and is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. A member of the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Botstein has received the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award, the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Harvard University's Centennial Award, and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art. Dr. Botstein has recorded major classical and contemporary works with the leading orchestras of the world. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and The Compleat Brahms (1999), and co-editor of Jews and the City of Vienna, 1870-1938 (2004).


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John D. Bransford
Shauna C. Larson Endowed Chair in the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington College
Nominated by: Ann Thompson

Dr. John D. Bransford holds the Shauna C. Larson Endowed Chair in the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington College of education, and is founding director of the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments). Prior to coming to UW he held the position of Centennial Professor at Vanderbilt University and was founding director of its Learning Technology Center


Bransford’s work has focused on collaborative tools and ways of teaching, learning and working that bring together the varied kinds of expertise necessary to support systems - and community-wide approaches to learning . For example, almost any project requires experts in (a) particular content areas (b) theories of learning, engagement, assessment and transfer; (c) informal learning; (d) socio cultural strengths and opportunities of students and communities; (e) organizational learning, leadership and design; (f) procedures ongoing professional development; (f) outstanding knowledge and community centered teaching; (g) technology support whenever possible.


Bransford has had the honor of co-editing a series of seminal books with members of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Education, and members of a MacArthur Network, and this has led to opportunities to interact with (and learn from) educational theorists and leaders across the world. Bransford’s research is based on the idea of creating working partnerships, and technology tools to support them, which allow groups of people (including students) to work together in ways that are beneficial for all parties involved.


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Michael Fullan
Professor Emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and Special Adviser on Education to Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario
Nominated by: Bruce Barnett

Michael Fullan earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Toronto. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and is Special Adviser on Education to Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario.


Michael is a prolific, award-winning author and his books have been translated into many languages. The close relationship between theory and practice makes his books highly popular with teachers and educational leaders. Much of his work is based on linking moral purpose, which he describes as a deep commitment to all students in raising the bar and closing the gap in student achievement, and capacity building which involves developing the knowledge, skills and competencies required to get better results.


Michael’s work has influenced educators around the world. Working in partnership with individuals and systems around the world, Michael strives to bring about education reform across entire systems -- from schools and communities, to districts and regions, and government levels. He led the team that evaluated the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy in England from 1998-2002. This highly successful reform was designed to improve literacy and numeracy across 20,000 primary schools in England. Building on this knowledge, Michael and his colleagues are working in several countries on large-scale reform initiatives, including Canada, England and Wales, Australia, and the Netherlands. He is also working in provinces in Canada and several states in the United States in applying policies and strategies in order to increase the learning and achievement of all students. His ideas also have been implemented in Latin America, Asia, and Europe through the Microsoft's Partners in Learning initiative where Michael has developed an elite course focusing on Learning to Lead Change. The course is designed to build system capacity for leaders at the school, region, and state levels. His new work involves helping achieve ‘whole system reform’ in Canada, the U.S. and across the world in helping countries learn from each other as they build new capacity within their systems.


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Herbert Kohl
Author and Director of the Coastal Ridge Research and Education Center in Point Arena, California
Nominated by: Ted M. Kahn

Herbert Kohl attended the Bronx High School of Science and studied philosophy and mathematics at Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia University. He has been teaching and writing for over thirty five years. From 1962 to 1968 as a teacher in Harlem, he ran a storefront school for junior high and high school students and was founder and first director of the Teachers and Writers Collaborative.


His first writings on education included: Teaching the Unteachable, The Language and Education of the Deaf, and 36 Children, The Open Classroom, Golden Boy as Anthony Cool, Reading, How to, A Book of Puzzlements, Mathematical Puzzlements, On Teaching, Growing With Your Children, and Half the House. He and his wife Judith wrote The View from the Oak, which won the 1977 National Book Award for Children's Literature.


In 1977 Kohl moved to Point Arena, California and established the Coastal Ridge Research and Education Center. He developed a national education funding initiative for the foundation. He then became Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. At the present time he is Director of the Coastal Ridge Research and Education Center in Point Arena, California.


Other publications include: Basic Skills, Growing Minds, Making Theater, The Question is College, From Archetype to Zeitgeist, I Won't Learn from You, and Should We Burn Barbar?, The Discipline of Hope, and A Grain of Poetry. He also co-authored Pack Band and Colony with Judith Kohl. With Judith Kohl and Myles Horton, founder of the Highlander Center, he co-authored The Long Haul, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Stupidity and Tears, and most recently Painting Chinese and The Herb Kohl Reader.


He is co-editor of the soon to be published The Muses Go to School: Conversations on the Necessity of the Arts in Education. In 2010 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.


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P. David Pearson
Professor in Language and Literacy and Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley
Nominated by: Dick Allington

P. David Pearson is a faculty member in the programs in Language and Literacy and Cognition and Development at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as Dean from 2001-2010. Current research projects include Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading--a Research and Development effort with colleagues at Lawrence Hall of Science in which reading, writing, and language as are employed as tools to foster the development of knowledge and inquiry in science--and the Strategic Education Research Partnership--a collaboration between UC Berkeley, Stanford, and the SFUSD designed to embed research within the portfolio of school-based issues and priorities. Prior to coming to Berkeley in 2001, he served on the faculties of education at Michigan State, Illinois, and Minnesota.


Awards include the 1989 Oscar Causey Award (NRC) for contributions to reading research, the 1990 William S. Gray Citation of Merit (IRA) for contributions to reading research and practice, the 2005 Albert J. Harris Award (IRA) for the year's best reading disability publication, and the 2003 Alan Purves Award (NCTE) for a publication impacting practice. In 2006 the University of Minnesota honored him with the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2010 AERA gave him Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award.


He is the founding editor of the Handbook of Reading Research now in its fourth volume, he edited Reading Research Quarterly and the Review of Research in Education, and he has served on the Editorial Review Board for some 20 educational journals. Professor Pearson received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, taught elementary school in California for several years, and went on to complete his Ph.D. in Reading Education at the University of Minnesota. He completed post-doctoral study at the University of Texas, Austin and Stanford University.


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Timothy Rasinski
Professor of Literacy Education at Kent State University
Nominated by: Autumn Tooms

Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University. He has written over 250 publications on reading education. He is co-author of the award winning fluency program called Fluency First, published by the Wright Group. His scholarly interests include reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle. His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, and the Journal of Educational Research. As well as publishing numerous bestselling books with Teacher Created Materials and Shell Education.


Tim recently served a three year term on the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association and from 1992 to 1999 he was co-editor of The Reading Teacher, the world's most widely read journal of literacy education. He currently serves as co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research. He is also a past-president of the College Reading Association and he has won the A. B. Herr Award from the College Reading Association for his scholarly contributions to literacy education.


Prior to coming to Kent State Tim taught literacy education at the University of Georgia. He taught for several years as an elementary and middle school classroom and Title I teacher in rural Nebraska.


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Sir Ken Robinson
Bestselling Author and Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick
Nominated by: Glen Henry

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He has worked with national governments, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, national and state education systems, non-profit corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations.


The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been seen by an estimated 200 million people in over 150 countries.


He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.


From 1989 - 2001, he was Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick, one of the five leading research universities in the UK, and is now professor emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, Ringling College of Arts and Design, the Open.


In 2005, he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts. He speaks to audiences throughout the world on the creative challenges facing business and education in the new global economies.


His book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Penguin/Viking 2009) is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into twenty-one languages. His latest book is a 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (Capstone/Wiley).