Maine teacher Nancie Atwell was named the first-ever recipient of a new prize established to recognize extraordinary contributions to education around the world. In addition to recognition for her work, Atwell will receive an unprecedented $1 million prize.
Atwell founded the Center for Teaching & Learning in 1990. The K–8, which is based in Edgecomb, Maine, has attracted attention for its approach to elementary and middle-school education, where they maintain small class sizes, implement research-based curriculum and teacher training programs.
A private school, Atwell told reporters that a priority at the center is for their foundation to raise enough to cover tuition for children who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend. Scholarships give the school the chance to maintain a diverse student body.
Atwell also authored a book based on her original and groundbreaking reading-writing workshops, which allow kids to choose what they read. The result? Many kids go through as many as 40 books a year. "In the Middle," which came out in 1998, has sold more than a half a million copies and is a model for schools all over the U.S. and the world.
The Global Teacher Prize is underwritten by the Varkey Foundation, which established the award as a kind of Nobel Prize for teaching.
Bill Clinton announced the first-ever winner yesterday at a ceremony on Sunday.