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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: awards

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February 11, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Customized Skittles? Award honors teachers who break the mold

12th man Skittles. Courtesy Michael Wierusz.

12th man Skittles. Courtesy Michael Wierusz.

Amid a steady drumbeat of anti-union sentiment and the rise of charter schools, it’s not surprising that teacher morale in some states is at a 25-year low.

But the seven men and women selected as particularly innovative educators by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen are not in this camp. Most work in public schools. All are pioneering new ways to teach tech-based education, and each received $25,000 from one of the best-known entrepreneurs in the world to bolster those efforts.

“We look to support the creative and the untapped,” said Jody Allen, co-founder and president of The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Each of the honored teachers has “the entrepreneurial mindset to rethink education,” she added.

Regan Drew, for example, began her career in marketing with the Seattle Storm, wound up teaching business in the Mead School District near Spokane, and then created an entirely new school – Riverpoint Academy – focused on turning standard Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lessons (commonly known as STEM) into actual inventions.

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