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Merry Byles-Daly of Grass Valley Charter School Receives 2013 Klingenstein Award

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    Ben Smith

Expeditionary Learning, the national network of more than 160 public and charter schools, 4,000 teachers and 50,000 students, announced today the recipient of the Klingenstein Teacher Award - Merry Byles-Daly of Grass Valley Charter School - as part of their National Conference in Atlanta. 

The award, created by Expeditionary Learning’s founding board chair, Lee Klingenstein, recognizes one Expeditionary Learning teacher annually who transmits the essence of Expeditionary Learning, which includes striving for academic achievement, modeling a child’s character and instilling an ethic of ‘citizen scholarship.’  

In addition to Byles-Daly, five other nominees were recognized: Jeanne Boland of The Odyssey School in Denver, CO; Jean Hurst of Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, NY; Graham Johnson of Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in New York, NY; Laura Stamas of Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA; and Chris Widmaier of the World of Inquiry School #58 in Rochester, NY. 

Nominees for the Klingenstein Award:

  • Instill in students a desire to learn, a responsibility for their own education, together with good academic results.
  • Inspire students’ participation in good citizenship in its broader sense, in the classroom and throughout the school community.
  • Model the value of “we are crew, not passengers” in their classroom and throughout the school - a founding principle of Expeditionary Learning.

As the awardee, Ms. Byles-Daly will receive a $5,000 grant and will present a Master Class at the Expeditionary Learning National Conference in 2014. 

“Our entire philosophy at Expeditionary Learning is built on exemplary teaching and building capacity for strong, capable and enthusiastic teachers like Merry and all of the nominees,” said Scott Hartl, CEO of Expeditionary Learning.  “What makes this award even more meaningful is that Merry was chosen by her peers – an extraordinary network of dedicated teachers, who know how to recognize excellence and celebrate alongside her.” 

Principal Brian Martinez of Grass Valley Charter described Byles-Daly’s passion and commitment for service learning as one of her exceptional qualities. “Merry’s students are ambassadors that are not limited to the confines of the classroom; they have a powerful impact within our regional community year after year. Whether they are busy preventing the closure of a local beloved state park, advocating the banning of single use plastic bags, or cleaning up our local rivers, they are frequently found engaged in real and meaningful work,“ said Martinez. “It is not uncommon for her students to be in front of city and county government or local business leaders – all who express shock at how articulate and knowledgeable they are in their presentations. Her students leave her classroom with a sense of empowerment that follows them for years as they often seek service opportunities on their own,” he added.