National Council of Teachers of English Logo

2016 High School Teacher of Excellence Award Recipients

Patricia BrundagePatty Brundage-Rude, North High School, Bakersfield, CA
(California Association of Teachers of English)
“Dr. Brundage has this way of pushing her students to their absolute best without tarnishing their spirit along the way. She provides constructive criticism that allows the student to grow and mature in their eduction. I believe that is a rare quality to find in a teacher. She has mastered the knack of helping her students be prepared for their future endeavors.” —Tyler Moyer, former student

Kate FlowersKate Flowers, Santa Clara High School, Santa Clara, CA
(Central California Council of Teachers of English)
“Kate is a fearless defender of people and ideas. Her students and colleagues have all benefited greatly from her sense of fairness and commitment to creating positive outcomes. Kate’s great sense of humor tempers her passion for her profession and work so that it is always a treat to spend time with her.” —Maichen Liu-Grossman, Teacher

Julie Henderson RuckerJulie Henderson Rucker, Tift County High School, Tifton, GA
(Georgia Council of Teachers of English)
“Julie has the unique ability to view any situation from various perspectives. She can consider alternatives, identify potential obstacles, and suggest imporvements with a critical eye. Her unbridled joy in every conversation regarding education is refreshing, reassuring, and respected.” —Chanon Collins, Teacher

David TheuneDavid Theune, Spring Lake High School, Spring Lake, MI
(Michigan Council of Teachers of English)
“What I appreciate most about David’s transformation is that it isn’t part-time. Authentic, relevant work brings out voice, passion, purpose. Mr. Theune brings these elements to his classes ALL of the time. And the results are there for the entire world to see.”  —Dennis M. Furton, Superintendent

Jeffrey RossJeffrey Ross, Belt High School, Belt, MT
(Montana Association of Teachers of the English Language Arts)
“Mr. Ross has had a huge impact on the learning community of Belt School because of his high expectation for himself, his students, as well as his colleagues. He has raised the bar high, and has been a driving force to improve instructional practices to better prepare our students for college, careers, and their lives.”  —Deborah Vogt, Teacher

Jenni ErhartJenni Erhart, Osceola High School, Osceola, NE
(Nebraska English Language Arts Council)
“While students are the ones ultimately responsible for their preformances, Mrs. Erhart comes early in the morning and works late into the evenings to hone the skills of her charges so that they can be the best they can be. And in my professional opinion it has been very fruitful.” —Steven A. Rinehart, Superintendent


Michelle BullaMichelle G. Bulla, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY
(New York State English Council)
“Her ability to decode the needs of our students in creating authentic new courses gets to the heart of who Michelle is as an educator. She does not subscribe to a theory of ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the needs of students. Her empathy enables her to understand their strengths and limitations as students, and more importantly, as people.” —David Bernsley, Principal

Joshua YoungeJoshua M. Younge, Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center, Chillicothe, OH
(Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts)
“Being in Mr. Younge’s class has taught me a great deal, and he is a very caring and easy-going teacher that makes learning fun and educational at the same time. Not only does he create an environment where students can succeed, but he makes it cool to learn again. I wish there were more teachers like him. He cares about his sutdents and their grades, and he also wants us to graduate and succeed in life.”  —Jasmine Jenkins, Student

Jennifer NovotneyJennifer Novotney, MMI Preparatory School, Freeland, PA
(Pennsylvania Council for Teachers of English Language Arts)
“She is an exceptional teacher who always strives to bring out the best in her students. Additionally, she is always seeking to learn new methods and pedagogy and enjoys sharing her new insights with those around her. She is creative with her lessons, but sees her students as much more than vessels to be filled. She seeks to develop critical thinking skills, communication, collaboration, and creativity in all she does.” —Chip Seidel, Assistant Head of School

Leigh UnterspanLeigh Unterspan, Travelers Rest High School, Travelers Rest, SC
(South Carolina Teachers of English)
"Leigh is a master teacher who understands every student she works with and strives for each student to be successful. Her teaching is a gift to enhance each student's writing and reading. She is so positive and patient with students and all students felt safe to do their best and take risks in their learning.” —Susanne LaFaye, Teacher

Kirsten RohlaKirsten Rohla, Belle Fourche High School, Fourche, SD
(South Dakota Council of Teachers of English)
“Kristen is an excellent English teacher who cares about her curriculum and her students. She is goal oriented and is a highliy organized and motivated person. She arrives at work with a smile on her face and has the ability to maintain that smile through the end of the day. With all the challenges teachers face on a daily basis this is a wonderful accomplishment.” —Dr. Steven A. Willard, Superintendent

Karalee PugmireKaralee Pugmire, Mojave High School, North Las Vegas, NV
(Southern Nevada Council of Teachers of English)
“Students clamor to take her classes. She thinks outside the box and forces students to follow suit. Mrs. Pugmire is supurb at having her students do the most important thing: think. I have enjoyed watching her students exit the class thinking critically or problem solving the different topics they have been presented. Students thoroughly enjoy her class.” —Tim Wells, Assistant Principal

Dee GrimmDee Grimm, Turner Ashby High School, Bridgewater, VA
(Virginia Association of Teachers of English)
“She teaches from a deep well of knowledge and experience that she keeps fresh with perennial exploration of new texts, new technology, and new insights into teaching. Equally important, she cares deeply about students, and because she cares about them, she asks for their best efforts and commitment to the well-designed tasks with which she organizes their experiences with literacy.” —Alice L. Trupe, Ph.D., Co-Director, Shenandoah Valley Writing

The awards presentation was held at the Secondary Section Luncheon on Saturday, November 19 during the NCTE Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Document and Site Resources

Share This On:

Page Tools:

Join NCTE Today

Related Search Terms


Copyright © 1998-2017 National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved in all media.

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

Looking for information? Browse our FAQs, tour our sitemap and store sitemap, or contact NCTE

Read our Privacy Policy NEW! Statement and Links Policy. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use

Visit us on:
Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest Instagram