Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

School of Education News

SOE LogoWillamette Alumnus Earns National Teaching Award

Kevin Zerzan '89, MAT'90 is one of two teachers in Oregon to recently earn a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, making him the third Willamette graduate in the past four years to win the prestigious award.

Dubbed "the Oscars of teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the profession.

Award winners receive a $25,000 cash prize and a trip to Los Angeles to attend a national forum that addresses strategies for advancing teacher effectiveness.

Zerzan, who majored in biology at Willamette, teaches science at Gladstone High School in Gladstone, Ore.

According to the Milken Foundation, Zerzan has been a leader in bringing state of the art technology to the science department at his school by developing an Applied Science and Technology Center on campus. He also helps lead the school's efforts in sustainability.

"[His students] know that Zerzan not only cares about them, but is an exceptional communicator who knows how to incite change and action," the foundation says. "Zerzan's passion goes beyond science to promoting a healthy and fair school environment for everyone."

Zerzan joins a growing group of Willamette alumni to receive this award, including Elisa Schorr '01 in 2007; Larry Conley MAT'99 in 2006; Hendrea Ferguson MAT'95 in 2003; and Dave Bertholf '90, MAT'92 in 2000.

Read more about Zerzan's work on the Milken Educator Awards website.

Recognizing Crystal Apple Award Nominees and Winner

In November the Crystal Apple Awards were announced, and three School of Education community members were among the nominees and winners.

Lauren Stephenson MAT'00 and David Whetzel MAT'96 received nominations. Stephenson is a teacher at Whiteaker Middle School in Keizer, Ore., and David is a teacher at Gubser Elementary School, also in Keizer.

Janice Olinger, who serves on the Ed. Consortium for the School of Education, received the award. Olinger is a notable supporter of the School of Education whose daughter attended the MAT program.

The Crystal Apple Award program is a collaborative venture between Salem-Keizer schools and the local chamber of commerce. They are meant to give Salem-Keizer area businesses the chance to recognize local teachers who are making a difference in the community. 2009 was the program's 12th year.