May 2013 --Brenda Wright, Ph.D., assistant professor of teacher education, has been selected as the 2013 Distinguished Teacher at UW-River Falls. The award, the highest honor that a faculty member can receive from the university, recognizes excellence in both teaching and mentoring students.
Wright will deliver the commencement address at the fall 2013 ceremony in December. In 2011, Wright was honored as the Outstanding Advisor of the Year by the College of Education and Professional Studies.
Wright earned her bachelor's degree in elementary and early childhood education from Augsburg College, a master's degree in education from St. Mary's University, and a doctorate in education from Hamline University. Prior to joining the Teacher Education Department at UW-River Falls, Wright spent 15 years teaching at Hope Christian Academy in Cottage Grove, Minn., and Rutherford Elementary in Stillwater, Minn. Courses taught by Wright include Elementary Techniques Social Studies, School and Society, and Social Science in Elementary School.
Wright's research interests include: using critical reflection, cultural self-awareness, and implementation of culturally relevant pedagogy to prepare pre-service teachers for 21st Century school classrooms; implementation of integrated, holistic teaching and learning to create inclusive K-8 classrooms; and utilization of student-centered, collaborative learning models for training pre-service teachers. She has presented her research at the regional, national, and international levels, including the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the American Education Research Association, and the Association of Teacher Educators. Her latest publication is a chapter, "Art & Culturally Relevant Pedagogy vs. Warring Words in a Race to the Frontline," in the book "Educating for Peace in a Time of Permanent War: Are Schools Part of the Solution or the Problem?"
For the past five years, Wright has been elected to the board of directors of World Citizen, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting peace in education through the dedication of peace sites and peace education workshops. She has also served as a Peace Education Program facilitator and lecturer through World Citizen, Inc. Her workshops are designed for K-6 teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin to gain an understanding in peace education that promotes social justice and equity at both a national and global level, in their own classrooms. Wright is also a member of the National Association for Multicultural Education and Phi Delta Kappa International.
A listing of persons who have received this honor in the past can be found at http://www.uwrf.edu/Awards/Teachers/Index.cfm.