John J. Ross Memorial Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education
Nominations are due March 1st and are to include the individual's name; firm if applicable; address & other contact information; the award for which they are being nominated and contact information of the nominators; a summary of their characteristics, experiences, and service that qualifies them for the award; and support letters from others may be included. The nomination packets should be sent to The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, ATTN: Kevin S. Ruegg, 4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, AZ 85016 or fax to 602-271-4930.
Ms. Eiring has led the school district in two law related areas: iCivics and Mock Trial for the past three years. At the present time, Ellyssa has two teams participating in the Pinal County Mock Trial Event and is part of a team spearheading the promotion of the iCivics program within 7-12 classrooms. Ms. Eiring was chosen to participate in a program with the O′Connor House and ASU to create videos which will hopefully encourage teachers to include daily iCivic lessons and practices in their classrooms. Ellyssa is also dedicated to the Mock Trial program. She introduced Mock Trial to the district three years ago and teaches these students law related curriculum on her prep time and after school. This year she is taking two teams to the Pinal County Event, giving twice as many students the opportunity of a life time.
For the past three years, she continues to teach them within and outside the classroom how to be good citizens, exercise their rights in a positive and respectful manner, learn current events from all branches of our government, issues from around the world, and how our system of government works.
Salt River Elementary
Maricopa County/Salt River Reservation
I have never seen a more enthusiastic teacher about the Kids Voting program. She utilizes the program to do student council elections and involves the community in the process. During the 2012 election, she had the Salt River Police Chief visit. She had weekly elections on a variety of topics like "favorite pet" or "favorite food." Then on Election Day she had the President and Vice President of the Tribal Council speak to the students about the importance of voting. She organized a rally on Election Day with the high school color guard, a voting cheer and many other activities.
Ms. Burstyn-Meyers in front a wall of several different projects her students did around voting
Smith Junior High
Wiley is an extremely dedicated teacher and mentor to our 7th and 8th graders. He is passionate about the Project Citizen program in which he has sponsored the last four years. He puts in a lot of extra time making this a successful experience for the students who participate each year. Wiley understands the importance of giving students the opportunity to problem solve issues that affect their community.
Students, with the help and expertise of Mr. Popovich learn skills in collaboration, research and public speaking. What makes this a successful program here at Smith is how Wiley instills in the students the relevance of all that they do while participating in Project Citizen. The students learn the skills needed to be successful for their presentation but ultimately these are skills that will help in their future school endeavors as well as their career opportunities.
Thunderbolt Middle School
I would like to nominate Justina Powell for the John J. Ross award. She is a teacher at Thunderbolt Middle School and has worked with her middle school students to develop citizenship skills. She has implemented iCivcis and We the People in her classroom and has helped other teachers start the program in their classrooms as well. Justina encourages her students to problem solve and think critically about political and historical issues. She is an excellent candidate for this award.
Mohave County Probation Department
Bill Young is a devoted director for the Mohave County Probation Department, Diversion Program, Teen Court in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. His contributions over the last ten years have built the youth's knowledge of the judicial process and placed many on a better path. Mr. Young and the program have been so influential that there is a high percentage of non-repeat offenders. He supports the high school students and their passion for the legal field by attending every diversion program trial night as well as the competitions held several times over the year.
His amazing work ethic and passion for the program are also seen in the fundraisers he coordinates for the school. His goal is to raise enough money to grant the kids the opportunity to participate in Teen Court events and attend the events outside of county.
Officer John Talley
Alhambra High School
Officer John Talley has made exceptional contributions in the advancement of law related education. His demonstration of leadership, integrity, and responsibility goes above and beyond the norm and has been seen throughout the community. He has taught the students of Alhambra how to be good adults and citizens. He has been teaching law-related topics in the classroom, on and off campus, and in his office for four years: all while creating positive and engaging relationships.
His impact has been so great that there has been a reduction in vandalism, drugs, and alcohol; several students are now interested in law enforcement.
Sonoran Heights Middle School
Amy Price is a leader in the community who not only advocates the importance of education as a teacher, but also serves as a mentor for students. Being a social studies instructor at Sonoran Heights Middle School, she places an emphasis on civics and law, in which she has creatively involved this generation of students by utilizing technology. Her innovation and determination to involve students has been demonstrated by the class project that created a newsreel on the societal impacts of war. Amy's ability to generate interest amongst the youth while incorporating education on important social issues has led to the creation of extra-curricular activities and projects that allow students to focus on community issues and concerns and take action.
Blue Ridge High School
Terry Green is a teacher at Blue Ridge High School who has taken a strong leadership role in the classroom and community. The importance for law and civic education for the youth motivated Terry to take the initiative to start the Blue Ridge Mock Trial team in 2002. He served not only as successful teacher-coach, winning awards at the Mock Trial Regional Tournament and award for Best Individual Performance in the State Championship in both 2009 and 2011, but also as an attorney-coach. His dedication to student's civic involvement was also demonstrated in 2009, 2011, and 2012 with another award for the Best Individual Performance at Xavier Invitational Tournament. Terry's involvement in motivating students has also led him to bring attorneys, judges, probation officers and police to educate students about law-related careers.
Officer Shawn Benjamin
Canyon Del Oro High School
Officer Shawn Benjamin goes above and beyond to educate her students in fun and creative ways. She taught 18 different Law Related Education subjects this past year, including "sexting" and "bullying." In addition to her classroom instruction, her students have participated in the Forensics Science program. She also helped her students create and submit a skit for the LawforKids.org website. The student performed video skits are used online for kids across Arizona to learn about different laws important to youth. Utilizing students helps make the content more real for youth, while actively engaging the creators in many aspects of a law they might face.
Not only does Officer Benjamin teach a significant number of subjects, she participates in many community groups that are all attached to the youth of our community, including drug awareness.
She shows her dedication to her students by doing more than what is required of her. She is an amazing role model and leader.
Skyline High School
"Jill has worked for many years to ensure that not only students but also teachers have the necessary back ground to effectively understand the responsibilities of being a contributing member of a democracy.
Almost ten years ago, Ms. Benza became interested in the We the People program and set up the program at Skyline High School. She then went on to help train other teachers from around the region. As a model teacher, she easily won over the support and commitment of other colleagues. Additionally, she has served on test writing committees for Mesa Public School for their government curriculum and is also involved with the Advanced Placement Program.
At Skyline High School, Jill and her "We the People" students have enjoyed tremendous success as a competing team at both the District and State levels. She has touched the lives of so many students and those who have graduated from her program eagerly return to assist with the current team. She is a walking/talking advocate for Law Related Education in our state." â€“ Kathy Williams
Lake Havasu High School
After attending a We The People Summer Institute in 2005 she immediately got involved in teaching her students the curriculum and signing up her class for that year's high school competition. Her passion for the program placed her team among those invited to state, which is a major accomplishment for a first time teacher! She has continued to send a team, who now continually places in the top 4 at state. She has also become a mentor for the very program that inspired her to teach the We The People curriculum and now shows other teachers at the week long summer institute how to implement the program in their classroom and how to prepare students to compete. Her evaluations rank her as an outstanding mentor. In 2008 the Foundation asked Jaime to become a member of the faculty for the professional development trainings and she continues to share her teaching expertise with others each year. Jaime recently took on another of the Foundation's program and has involved herself in Project Citizen and in 2010 applied and was accepted as a District Coordinator for the program.
Joseph City Junior and Senior High School
Mr. Miller consistently challenges his students with rigorous instructional strategies that promote students' citizenship. Some of his activities that engage the students in active citizenship are Mock Courts, utilizing community resources, and having students produce campaign videos. Eric has brought in guest speakers to the classroom, including the Assistant County Attorney, county election officials, and an APS power plant manager.
Eric Miller's work extends beyond the classroom. This year, he participated in the Navajo County-Victim Rights Symposium. He also took the campaign videos his students had created and had a viewing during an end of the year assembly for parents and students. Mr. Miller is also responsible for reviewing, aligning, and mapping out the social studies curriculum at his Junior High School.
"Mr. Miller has a great attitude and work ethic and is not afraid to extend himself to provide outstanding instruction to his students. He exhibits professionalism thru example and promotes a positive education environment in his classroom." Nominator
Centennial Middle School
Elaine assisted Officer Alan Ienn establish a Forensic Science Club at Centennial Middle School. The team realized the cost to keep the program going and Elaine did a presentation to parents and was able to raise funds by having parents donate and use a tax credit for their donations. Centennial Middle School has won the Forensic Science State Competition for the past two years. "She again has gone above and beyond just teaching. She is the force behind Centennial Middle School's Forensic Science Club and teams."
Somerton Middle School
On a daily basis you will find Officer Navarro interacting with the students, but he really shows his worth in counseling students one-on-one. This has allowed the school to be proactive dealing with school issues like fights. Officer Navarro recently started the Cobra Explorer Patrol – a group of gifted students who serve as supervisors during lunch periods. The students will issue tickets to students for minor offenses and the students must then attend a Cobra Court where they will be disciplined by peers. The goal of the program is to enhance the students' knowledge of how the criminal system works, and to encourage them to become better students and citizens.
Douglas High School
Natalio has for the past 21 years served the at-risk youth of Douglas as the Juvenile Probation Officer. Students seek out Natalio for counsel and advice; he is also the bridge between the public schools and parts of the community that are often marginalized or ignored. Many times he has put uneasy parents at ease with the educational setting, and has parents request his presence at mediation sessions. Natalio's primary activity is hands-on teaching of LRE courses primarily in high school and middle schools; the superintendent has also requested that he make special presentations at the five elementary schools.
Mountain Pointe High School
Mr. Nach has been teaching Criminal Justice at Mountain Pointe High School for over nine years. In addition to using his knowledge as an Arizona Bar-certified attorney, he invites practicing attorneys and judges into the classroom to share their personal experience with the students. His flagship program is the Mountain Pointe Teen Court Program, in which he provides training to his Criminal Justice students to perform the Teen Court roles of Judge, Prosecuting Attorney, Defense Attorney, Bailiff, Clerk and Victim Advocate. Mr. Nach co-authored the consensus map for the Criminal Justice class for the Tempe Union High School District. He has attended various AZFLSE conferences, and has shared his knowledge and experience with other teachers who want to bring law-related education into the classroom. He has also taught at the Phoenix High School of Jewish Studies for 15 years.
Jess Schwartz College Prep
Marc is well loved by his students, and understands what a learning community should be.Â He is always reading and searching for ways to both grow his curriculum and help students continue to expand their knowledge and skills.Â In his government class, he has created packets of Supreme Court decisions that students study, analyze, take positions on and debate.Â Mr. Crowley encourages his students to search out primary documents, read and interpret them, and use them to support their own thesis. He teaches 9th grade world history, 11th grade American history, and 12th grade American government & economics.Â Â Mr. Crowley is also known for teaming up with other teachers in different subject areas to find new ways of introducing history and the law to all students.Â For example, one year he teamed up with the English teacher to do a class called Law in American Literature.
Prescott High School (nominated by Dorrean Walker)
Mr. Goligoski teaches the We the People program at Prescott High School, as well as U.S. government.Â He brings numerous community resource people into his classroom and works well with the school resource officers.
Benson Middle School (nominated by Sepp Sprietsma and Gary Douglas)
Nona has been instrumental in integrating LRE in her classroom. She is an 8th grade teacher for Benson Middle School, and for the past four years, she has allowed a Juvenile Probation Officer and Police Offer teach a Juvenile Justice class in her room. The Juvenile Justice class is taught throughout the school year, culminating with a tour of the Juvenile Detention center. She has also accompanied the two as they brought students and parents to the AZFLSE luncheon at the State Capital, where they were privileged to meet the local state representatives. She also assists with the local San Pedro Family Alliance summer trip program, which positively impacted approximately 470 youth from the Benson area.
South Mountain High School (Pamela Neal)
Mrs. Charlene Roll is the Director of the Law Magnet Program at South Mountain High School. Mrs. Roll is a Master Law Related Education Teacher who has the unique ability to reach students and adults of all ages by utilizing the Best Practices of LRE and providing practical real life law related content. Mrs. Roll loves to teach, and it shows in her interactions with students and teachers.Â Mrs. Roll challenges and encourages students to express their ideas, beliefs and opinions about the law and legal issues without fear because their opinions really do matter.
Mrs. Roll was nominated for this award because she has demonstrated true leadership by going above and beyond the call of her daily duties in her own school to connect with junior high school students in the Roosevelt School District. Mrs. Roll along with her law magnet students have helped mentor and train approximately 127 students from 6 different schools in the Roosevelt School District in law related education and teen court. The training has allowed students to be exposed to high school and has encouraged them to finish high school and pursue careers in the legal field. Mrs. Roll has assisted in coordinating and implementing a Peer Leadership/Mentoring Program at South Mountain High School. Mrs. Roll also started an after school teen court mentoring program. Junior High students hear real juvenile court cases after they have went through a training session with high school mentors in the law magnet program. She has also coordinated mock Trial Weekend at ASU.
Landmark Middle School
Mr. Colebrook brings social studies to life in the classroom. Students are engaged in the reenactment of historical events, taking a side in a debate or defending a group they may represent in a history lesson. He encourages students to understand the past and connect it to the present or future. He reinforces citizenship and the impact that an individual can have. He pushes students to gather data, to draw conclusions and synthesize the information so that each can take a stance and make a difference. Mr. Colebrook hosted the District showcase for Project Citizen and involved the parents and community in the process. Mr. Colebrook has also worked with the Juvenile Probation Department to hear real cases.
Cactus Middle School
Casa Grande, AZ
Lisa has been instrumental in providing LRE for students for the last five years. Her initial involvement was allowing the Safe Schools Probation Officer's to teach in her Social Studies class. She took an active approach by co-teaching with the probation officers. Her involvement did not stop in her classroom, she also volunteered to coach the Cactus Middle School Mock Trial team in the 2005 through 2006. In her first year of competing in the Annual Pinal County Mock Trial competition, her Cactus Middle School teams placed first, and fueled her vision to advocate for Mock Trial to become an elective class at Cactus Middle School. The following year she successfully convinced the school board and principal to add Mock Trial to the list of elective classes.
Xavier High School
Mr. Cosden has been involved in teaching Mock Trial for over 5 years and has made sure others have an opportunity to experience this educational program. Several years ago he implemented the Mock Trial Scrimmage, the month before the Regional Tournament to provide a "practice arena" for other teams. He not only hosted the event but coached four teams of his own. Mr. Cosden is always mentoring other teachers in the valley because he believe in the program and wants to see it grow.
University High School
Mr. McAndrew teaches American Government and Comparative Politics AP classes. For approximately 14 years he has served as a coach for University High School's mock trial teams. A highlight for many students is the yearly mock election. Each government class forms its own political party, runs a slate of officers, writes position statements and hold a school-wide debate.
Pat passed away last December. His students benefited from his passion for political science and the law as he taught them to understand the political and philosophical differences of cultures around the world.
Jim Maner - Capps Middle School - Heber
Mr. Maner has been involved with Project Citizen and We the People for several years. His students always do well at district and state showcases. Last year, Jim's Project Citizen Class took on vandalism and scored the highest points at the state showcase and went onto Nationals.
Jim Norman - Hamilton High School - Chandler
Mr. Norman was nominated by the 2006-2007 "We the People" students. Jim is a retired lawyer who gives willingly of his free time to come in and give valuable advice and help to the "We the People" students. He has conducted numerous lectures during school hours, as well as volunteered any free time he has had to individually mentor any of the small groups. During the week before the competition, the students have many hours in Jim's own house studying and preparing for the big day.
John Nitka - Palo Verde Magnet High School - Tucson
Rich Curtin - Palo Verde Middle School - Phoenix
Cheri Bludau- Tucson Unified School District - Tucson
Duane Phifer - Desert Sands Middle School - Phoenix
John Halverson - Desert Sands Middle School - Phoenix
Charlene Roll - South Mountain High School - Phoenix
Lisa Adams - Corona del Sol High School - Tempe
Lori Rodriguez - East Globe School - Globe
Phyllis Wolfskill/Cindy Pickett - Sinagua High School - Flagstaff
Patricia Downing, Crane Middle School, Yuma
Abby Dupke, Dobson High School, Mesa
Dave Franquero, Globe High School, Globe
Tim Smith, Corona del Sol High School, Tempe
Cathy Currier, Sahuaro High School (Tucson)
Michael Spears, Hamilton High School (Chandler)
Darla Johnson, Bradshaw Mountain High School
Arlie Hunt Anderson Junior High School, Chandler
Robin Andre, Shelly Baker and Georgia Davidson Mile High Middle School, Yavapai County
Tammy Waller - Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale
Julie McCall - Madison #1 Middle School, Phoenix
Nancy Haas - ASU West, Phoenix
Kathy Williams - Dobson High School, Mesa
Sarah Cromer - South Beaver Elementary, Flagstaff
Jody Arnold - Liberty Elementary School, Buckeye
Judy Cox - Thornydale Elementary School, Tucson
Marilyn Easton - Thornydale Elementary School, Tucson
Elnora Johnson - Blue Ridge School District, Lakeside
Janet Thor - Centennial Middle School, Phoenix
Katheryn Hedges - Deer Valley High School, Phoenix
Betsyann Wilson - Thornydale Elementary School, Tucson
Connie R. Boulton - Wilson Primary School, Phoenix
William Graham - Tempe High School, Tempe
W. Dorrean Walker - Prescott High School, Prescott
Mildred (dede) Havens - Buena High School, Sierra Vista
Mary Jo Hilpert - South Mountain High School, Phoenix
Mary Platt - St John's High School, St. Johns
George Thomson - Nogales High School, Nogales
Norma Jean Coulter - Madison #1 School, Phoenix
Paula Olson - Esperanza School, Tucson
Darlene Speaker - Creighton Middle School, Phoenix
Lorene Ely - South Mountain High School, Phoenix
Ron Trent - Amphitheater High School, Tucson
Elnora Johnson - Blue Ridge Junior High School, Lakeside
Tom Foster - Mountain View High School, Mesa
Kathy Hedges - Deer Valley High School, Phoenix
Winifred McAter - Flowing Wells High School, Tucson
George Thomson - Nogales High School, Nogales
Richard C. Brown - South Mountain High School, Phoenix
Augie Zito - Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix
Towne Bishop - Rincon High School, Tucson
John Yanez - Miami High School, Miami