Dara Feldman, a kindergarten teacher at Garrett Park Elementary School, is one of only three honorees throughout the nation being recognized in early childhood education with a Disney Education Award and one of 45 national winners in all education fields. She was selected from more than 50,000 nominees to receive the award in celebration of her creativity, innovative teaching methods, and ability to inspire students.
This year's 45 Disney teacher honorees were selected by their peers, former Disney teacher honorees, and representatives of leading educational associations from across the United States. Honorees come from every subject field and every level of K-12 teaching.
Feldman was recognized for a commitment to teaching that results in a creative, high-tech kindergarten where children learn about the world in which they live.
"We communicate over the Internet with kindergartners in other countries," Feldman said. "We try to show the children that we have differences, but that we are more than our differences. This year, our exchange was with children in Malaysia, and the tsunami hit there in December. "
Feldman and other honorees will receive $10,000 from the Walt Disney Company and a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, for the week of July 23-28. In addition, Disney will award $5,000 to each of their schools.
During the week in California, the teachers will participate in a professional development institute where they can refine their teaching approaches by sharing ideas and learn how to engage other teachers to build an effective collaborative teaching culture at their schools. Five exceptional teachers also will be chosen from the 45 honorees. Four Outstanding Teachers and one Disney Teacher of the Year will receive an additional $15,000.
When they return, the winning teachers will work with experts from the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston to design schoolwide plans for making teaching more effective. Each teacher will have a leadership role in educating fellow teachers in the techniques that have made them successful at connecting with students.
The Disney Teacher Awards are part of DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach for the Walt Disney Company. Nominations for the 2006 Disney Teacher Awards will be open in mid-August.