Professional OpportunitiesNBEA Award Winners
Recognizing Excellence in Business Education
Each year NBEA accepts nominations for outstanding individuals for the following award categories:
Secondary Teacher of the Year [nomination form]
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to business education by a secondary business educator.
Postsecondary Teacher of the Year [nomination form]
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to business education by a postsecondary business educator.
Collegiate or University Teacher of the Year [nomination form]
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to business education by a senior college or university business educator.
Distinguished Service Award for an Administrator or Supervisor [nomination form]
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to business education by an administrator or supervisor of business education.
Distinguished Service Award [nomination form]
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to business education by an institution, organization, business firm, government agency, or individual associated with any of these groups.
Middle School Teacher of the Year [nomination form]
This award recognizes outstanding contributions to business education by a middle school business educator.
The 2012 NBEA Award winners are:
Carrie Ann Pratt
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Carrie Ann Pratt, business teacher at McMillan Magnet Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska, is NBEA's 2012 Middle Teacher of the Year. She was honored for consistently breaking new ground in teaching business education courses.
Pratt's classroom is often used as a demonstration model site for Common Sense Media, a national organization that gives students, parents, and teachers information about media safety and internet ethics. She pilots lessons by integrating them into her technology classes. After students complete the lessons and learn more about specific computer applications, they provide comments, questions, and ideas on how the information in each lesson could be improved. These ideas are sent to Common Sense Media for use in the national model. As part of this effort, Pratt had her students create electronic documents to promote “Going Green.”
Pratt's volunteer work with technology and curriculum committees, student assistance teams, and extracurricular and community advisory activities has also blazed a trail of support for her students and the community. As an example, she created the Lion’s Pride After-School Program, which was funded in conjunction with the mayor’s office and the YMCA. She has also trained students to use "open office" products that would be available to them at home for free—important because her school’s neighborhood has a much higher poverty level than other middle schools in her city. Even as a “rookie teacher,” Pratt actively strengthened school and community partnerships and contributed to curriculum writing projects and steering committees related to information technology. She’s been recognized by state and regional educational organizations—and by students and parents alike—as an outstanding business education teacher.
Cynthia S. Johnson
Secondary Teacher of the Year
Cynthia S. Johnson, business teacher at Jefferson County North High School in Winchester, Kansas, received NBEA's 2012 Secondary Teacher of the Year Award. Johnson brings to the classroom imagination and innovation and it has taken her and her students to remarkable places.
As a first-year teacher, there were no funds for textbooks. So she invented six completely new computer courses and created project-based assessments to make sure her students were learning core business education content. In the same year, Johnson was also placed in charge of a struggling yearbook program. Being the innovator that she is she didn’t let her lack of experience handicap her. Instead, she found and attended intensive yearbook training programs over the course of two summers, then applied what she learned. She sponsored fundraising activities to help defray yearbook costs, then set about creating a world-class product.
During her 12-year teaching career, Johnson has continued to imagine and to innovate. Rather than rely on textbooks for lesson plans, she has created her own materials so she could motivate students with multiple instructional techniques. Her Advanced Web students redesigned their district website, which was recently named the third-best school website in its state by a local newspaper. Johnson's supervisors consistently rate her high for her orderly and structured lessons, clear directions, and student engagement in learning tasks.
Johnson has also contributed to the profession by writing for national, regional, state, and district publications and has raised more than $855,000 to support school programs and technology. Over the years, Johnson has earned the respect of her supervisors and the community at large by steadfastly pushing her students toward excellence and by going out of her way to advocate for them.
Linda D. Miller
Postsecondary Teacher of the Year
The NBEA 2012 Postsecondary Teacher of the Year is Linda D. Miller, instructor of business at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.
If teachers received report cards, Linda Miller would have straight A’s. Students give her an “A” for being "awesome"—they say online or in-office, she knows how to help them understand the subject, makes class fun but yet very challenging, and relates material to career fields. An administrator at her college noted that she
"has been instrumental in [revising] our accounting program…which has [increased] student numbers in the program and [graduated] more accounting students than we have ever had… Our students are finding quality entry-level employment and satisfying regional employers with their accounting knowledge and skills."
Miller also earns an “A” for the "assessment" process she developed for accounting students. The students take a universal pretest and final exam prepared by full-time accounting faculty. She writes the test questions for this exam and also contributes assessment activities for FBLA’s national competition and for the online component of a major intermediate accounting textbook. As the link between secondary and postsecondary education in the northeast section of her state, she works with a colleague to prepare and present periodic accounting program review reports to the Board of Governors.
And, Miller also gets an “A” for being “an extremely valuable "asset" to the business, math, and technology division and to the college as a whole.” Her dean writes, "She is a dedicated faculty member, distinguished by her ongoing efforts to improve her expertise in the classroom, both through commitment to professional development and willingness to employ new teaching techniques and technology in the learning environment…She has great rapport with students of all ages… takes a personal interest in [their] success …and consistently provides them with advisement and academic help outside the classroom.
Collegiate Teacher of the Year
Diane Fisher, NBEA’s 2012 recipient of the Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award, is a professor at The.University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Three words describe Fisher as an educator:
model, mentor, and bridge-builder.
An active leader in local, state, and national professional organizations, Fisher strives to improve instruction and course offerings to meet the needs of every student. She was instrumental in redesigning the curriculum frameworks for business education in her state, and thanks to her efforts several of her university students achieved national, state, and local recognition for their teaching skills. She also routinely involves her students in research that leads to presentations at professional conferences.
Fisher's empathy and enthusiasm for learning create “an amazing rapport” between her and her students. As an example: A former student who had transferred from a university where she got little support and even less personal attention was prepared to be “invisible” yet again at an even larger university--The University of Southern Mississippi. However, the student came to enjoy success in PBL competitions, received multiple job offers, and developed the confidence she needed to be the teacher she always wanted to be because, "I ended up meeting the person who would become my lifelong mentor and friend—she was an instant breath of fresh air and negated every negative stereotype I had about college professors."
Inspiring students is one aspect of Fisher's trademark teaching style. The other is always looking for connections between what is taught in “the ivory tower of academia” and the daily reality of the modern classroom.
Stephen D. Lewis
Distinguished Service Award for an Administrator
The recipient of NBEA’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Business Education by an Administrator of Business Education is Stephen D. Lewis, chair of the Department of
Business Communication and Entrepreneurship in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was honored for his leadership in the use of innovative technology, his nationally known research and editorial contributions and accomplishments, and his personal qualities of integrity, fairness, and patience.
The business education program, which includes an undergraduate and graduate component, is the only one offered in a public four-year university in the state of Tennessee. Under Lewis' leadership, the program boasts a long standing and successful online/hybrid graduate program that continues to grow in numbers and in academic strength.
Along with an emphasis on academic excellence, Lewis has established a strong tradition of encouraging professional development. Undergraduate and graduate business education students are required to join the state business education organization as well as NBEA—and 100 percent of the state dues and 50 percent of the NBEA dues are paid from an enrichment account supported by faculty contributions. In addition, faculty in his department serve as officers in professional organizations, on executive boards, and on multiple committees. Through creative planning and financing, Lewis has made it possible for the university to fully fund every faculty member's request for professional travel.
His program’s reputation has forged strong relationships with local businesses and with principals and superintendents. Each year students participate in office-based internships, and dozens of students have been placed in teaching positions. To maintain program strength, Lewis ensures that several members of the faculty work closely with the State Department of Education to keep business education “top of mind” and to be apprised early of any legislation or other proposals that might impact business education. As a result, the department has a respected and strong voice regarding curriculum and other business education issues.