Most prestigious CU Boulder alumni award to honor Jackie ColtJackie

We all know educators who have changed lives, and the scope of Jackie Colt’s passion has enhanced the lives of countless students, parents, teachers and administrators.

This fall, Colt will be recognized with CU Boulder’s most prestigious alumni award, the 2019 George Norlin Award. The award recognizes outstanding alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their field and a devotion to the betterment of society and their community. Colt, who earned her master’s and doctoral degrees through CU Boulder, will receive the award at the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony during Homecoming Week in November.

Colt has committed her 40-year career to the promotion of literacy and the generation of knowledge that has increased opportunities for thousands of students, particularly in high-poverty schools. In collaboration with Elfrieda Hiebert, she created and researched a nationally replicated literacy program for schools and struggling readers in the St. Vrain Valley School District, and she also reformed reading instruction for prospective and practicing teachers as a clinical professor at CU Boulder.

Today, Colt is still making a difference as a tutor for struggling adult readers as part of the public library’s Boulder Reads program, and she continues to create improved opportunities for CU Boulder students and faculty by chairing, with great success, our Development Advisory Board.


HennesseyMaine Teacher of the Year awarded to English education alumnus Joe Hennessey

The entire staff and student body at Piscataquis Community High School gave a standing ovation as their beloved English teacher Joe Hennessey was named the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year at a school assembly. A 2011 alumnus of the English education licensure program, Hennessey grew up in Colorado and has been teaching in the rural, central Maine community since 2014.

Hennessey, who is more comfortable in his classroom than in the spotlight, deflected much of the attention for his teacher-of-the-year status to shine a light on his students and the community that has embraced him and his teaching. As the humble teacher tours the state and nation, and even internationally as part of his role, Hennessey sees this an opportunity to discuss what makes his rural community strong in the face of often adverse circumstances. In true teacher fashion, he asked assembly attendees to reflect on this. 

“What are the things that make us most proud? What barriers to access and success frustrate us the most? And how is it that people coming from six different towns representing a physical area bigger than downtown Portland are able to come together to create a community where everyone is welcome, supported and feels as though their opinions and actions matter?” 

Maybe it’s teachers like him.



Nancy Kellogg’s lifelong scientific curiosity and 50-year career earn national accoladesnancy

Sparked by an interest in the natural world that began on her family’s Colorado ranch, Nancy Kellogg’s scientific curiosity grew into a lifelong career in science education.  With more than 50 years of service to her name and no signs of stopping, Kellogg was recognized this year for “extraordinary contributions to the advancement of education in the sciences and science teaching” with the Distinguished Service to Science Education Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world’s largest organization committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science education.

Kellogg, a CU Boulder education alumna for both her BA and PhD, has been a high school biology teacher, experiential education program developer, professor in Saudi Arabia, and leader in standards-based reform, professional development and equitable assessments. Even in retirement she remains a tireless advocate, serving organizations like NSTA, the National Science Education Leadership Association and the Colorado Science Education Network, which she co-founded.

“I have always been driven to improve science education for all students, provide opportunities for teachers and not accept the status quo,” she said.