Ellen Spitler

Ellen Spitler received the 2005 award. Ellen is an English teacher at Flowing Wells High School in Flowing Wells School District , where she is described as a "gifted teacher." As a graduate of both the SAWP Invitational Institute and the Teacher Research and Inquiry Institute, Ellen has excelled in her commitment to make her students her co-researchers in her work. They collaborated with her - affectionately calling her "Spit" - and one another to determine the overall effectiveness of each strategy taught for their own needs. When her students presented with Ellen for a SAWP Saturday Seminar, they demonstrated "superior understanding of themselves as learners and as students who take responsibility for their learning." The director of the Teacher Research Institute wrote that her "work with the teacher research project was among the best I've seen in many years." As her advisor at UA wrote, she "helps students believe in themselves...she makes kids who do not see themselves as successful in school be confident." And she does this because she is a smart teacher - one who has continued to grow and learn as an educator and develop strategies that work with all students. Ellen epitomizes the best of a SAWP teacher leader: she goes public with what she knows, conducting workshops for elementary and secondary teachers on the teaching of reading in Maran, Peoria , and Sunnyside. Her colleagues and teachers describe Ellen as "energetic, resourceful, creative" and as "passionate, dedicated, capable and smart."