Arizona Education Association

Fall 2016

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FALL 2016 | ADVOCATE 15 AEA Student Member Wins 2016 Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Program helps to ease financial burden of future educators By Lisa Kelly Leigh via NEA Today In life, Jack Kinnaman was a hardworking vice president and former advisory council member of NEA-Retired. He represented the organization on NEA's Fund for Children and Public Education, and for years he represented active and retired members in a variety of local, state, and national Association positions. Kinnaman's work and dedication to education continue to live through the NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship, which goes to NEA Student Program members who demonstrate that financial barriers stand between them and their aspiration to become an educator. On July 2, during the 2016 NEA-Retired Annual Meeting, attendees recognized Sydney Knight, a rising senior at Grand Canyon University and member of the AEA Student Program, who is studying elementary education with an emphasis in math, and Jaffa Williams, a rising junior whose major area of study is secondary education in math. Knight, who will finish her undergraduate studies one year early, told the gathering that she was inspired to become a teacher by her mom—an elementary teacher who taught her the value of money and the value of a good education—and hardworking, caring teachers. "Thank you for investing in me," she said. "I can't wait to pay it forward." Williams, a rising junior at Florida A&M—the alma mater of 2016 NEA-Retired Distinguished Service Award winner Ulysses Floyd—accepted her award through tears. "When I first thought to be an educator," she said, "I didn't think I would have the love and support. Having you guys' support and love me has shown me that I'm choosing the right field. Paying for college has been hard. I am honored to follow the steps of Mr. Floyd," she said. Both women will receive scholarships in the amount of $2,500. For application details on the 2017 Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Award, visit Tucson High Drama Teacher Wins National Award Tucson Education Association member Art Almquist was recently honored by the Children's Theatre Foundation of America with the 2016 Reba R. Robertson Outstanding Teacher of Drama. He received the award during a ceremony held by the foundation in Boston on July 29, 2016. The award honors the memory of Reba R. Robertson, a public school teacher who devoted nearly 40 years to teaching high school drama, speech, and debate and recognizes teachers who follow enthusiastically in her path. Almquist has spent the majority of his life involved with theater, teaching and performing. He is a native Tucsonan who grew up in Tucson Unified schools. He started acting at the age of 12, when he joined the Tom Thumb players, which was founded by Lee Strasberg student Lester Netszky. Inspired by Netszky and his own high school drama teacher, he decided to pursue theater education to help kids navigate the minefield of adolescence. In 1996, he began teaching at Tucson High Magnet School, where he has taught Acting and directed plays for 20 years. His program and plays have won numerous awards, as well as regularly being named one of the best high school theatres in America by the American High School Theatre Festival. Art is also an avid film-lover, and in 1998 won U.S. Satellite Broadcasting's "You Be the Movie Critic" contest; the award, judged by Gene Siskel, gave him the opportunity to host a nationwide movie review program for a year. In 2008, he won Tucson's LUMIE Award for Arts Teacher of the Year, and his work as an actor has been recognized with local awards. He was most recently honored as the reader's choice for PEOPLE Magazine's 2013 Teacher of the Year. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and has worked in professional Improv Comedy groups for 25 years. He continues to act and perform in the Tucson community regularly. n

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