This year during Teacher Appreciation Week, we recognize and thank all of our hard-working educators here at Walden University—our students, alumni, and our own faculty—who every day take on the task of making a difference in their classrooms, schools and districts around the world.

In appreciation of our educators, Spotlight on Walden would like to share some of our favorite articles, blog posts, and videos about our educator community.

"My maternal grandmother, Mrs. Bernice Wille, is one of the greatest factors that influenced me to become a teacher. My Grandma Wille was a pioneer teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in the early 1920s. From the time I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a teacher like her, even though she passed away when I was in eighth grade. Many of the details she told me have been forgotten; however, all the basic principles about being a great teacher were instilled in me through her.”

—LeAnn Morris, a PhDin Education with a specialization in Educational Technology student, K–5 technology teacher at Empire Elementary School in Carson City, Nevada, and 2008 Nevada Teacher of the Year, on why she decided to become an educator. Read more from LeAnn.

“In elementary school, it was because I wanted to write on the chalkboard all day and give out stickers. Years later, I knew teaching was my true calling when I realized the ability I have to connect with kids.”

—Ellen Raupp, a 2007 MS in Education with a specialization in Mathematics (K-6) graduate, who with her husband, Andy Raupp, also a Walden graduate, launched a company and an iOS application to enable teachers to quickly capture and share student progress via text, photo, audio, and video capabilities. Read this husband and wife’s story.

“Whenever I see students’ faces light up—that aha moment—I know why I’m a teacher. I had an English teacher who made books come alive. He would ask us how we could apply their lessons in our daily lives. That’s the mantra I use in my teaching now.”

—Dr. Kimberly Handy, an MS in Education, Doctor of Education graduate and current Education Specialist student, shares why education is a lifelong journey both in her classroom and as a student. Read more about her journey.

“Music is motivational, and for many students, it may be their only true motivation. Also, music is part of a student’s everyday life. Students most likely hear it each day on their portable music devices, the radio, around the house, and at school. By presenting content in a musical form, students who previously may not have had an interest in the content or struggled learning new material now can use the music to help them remember the material and to get motivated about learning.”

—Dr. Keith Smolinski, a Doctor of Education graduate and 2010 Walden Scholars of Change winner, is a Connecticut middle school teacher who combined his love of music and science to help engage his students in the classroom. Watch his Scholars of Change Video and read his story.

To highlight its ongoing commitment to teacher effectiveness, Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership is offering more than $370,000 in scholarships to deserving educators who are making a positive impact in their school or community. For more information, visit

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