The 2001 Southern Arizona Writing Project Exemplary Teacher Award, presented on behalf of the Southern Arizona Writing Project and the UA Department of English, was awarded to Deborah Walker.
Deb has been a high school English teacher since 1992, first at Amphitheater High School and presently at Canyon del Oro High School. She participated in the SAWP Summer Institute in 1994. Since that time she has co-directed the open enrollment institute twice (1996 and 1998), and was a Senior Fellow for the Summer Invitational Institute in 2000. She serves on the SAWP Advisory Board, has written countless articles for the newsletter, and has been indefatigable in promoting the teaching and learning of writing.
She writes about her work with SAWP: "I learned as much from the elementary teachers as from the college teachers. As co-director of two separate two week writing projects, I watched in amazement as the teachers blossomed and became writers--many for the first time. I am keenly aware of the power of the Writing Project and wish to share my excitement and enthusiasm with teachers."
She also says, "I am an organized person buried beneath an exterior of spontaneity and humor."
Teachers who have worked with her in the Writing Project Institutes write, "Deb was super great! We helped each other by being positive and nonjudgmental. I have now gained confidence in my own ability to write." Another says, "The climate of support in SAWP was established the first day. We were all listeners, critics, and writers.... [SAWP]more that any other education class or convention has allowed me to grow as a teacher and as a writer." Finally, "This has been a life changing experience. I'm grateful and honored to be a part of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
And SAWP says thank you, too, Debbie.