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Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Welcomes First Week of 2024 Fellows to Fort Scott, Kansas

Educators collaborate in powerful project-based learning to discover, develop and communicate stories of Unsung Heroes who have changed the course history

June 17, 2024

FORT SCOTT, Kan. – The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes awarded its prestigious Fellowship to 12 educators from Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming; and Ontario, Canada. The Fellowship is divided into two cohorts, with five educators collaborating with LMC staff this week and seven arriving next week. 

Established in 2007 as a partnership between philanthropist and education visionary Lowell Milken and 1992 Kansas Milken Educator and history teacher Norm Conard, the international nonprofit LMC transforms classrooms and communities through student-driven projects that discover Unsung Heroes from history. 

The LMC Fellowship is a merit-based award for educators of all disciplines who value the importance of teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning. LMC selects exemplary teachers from the U.S. and globally who will engage in projects that discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history. 

Here are the five extraordinary LMC Fellows in Week 1, beginning June 17:

Aaron Kruger is a 2021 Wyoming Milken Educator and history teacher at Cheyenne Central High School. Aaron empowers his students to succeed by fostering open discussion and critical thinking skills. His students consistently surpass state and global pass rates on the AP History exams. Within his school, Aaron has served as department chair, served on the building leadership and collaborative decision-making teams, and reworked the district's world history curriculum. His measured and methodical leadership skills fostered a dialogue that created significant change within the school and administration.

Erica Quale is a 2021 North Dakota Milken Educator and eighth-grade social studies teacher at Wachter Middle School in Bismarck. She makes U.S. history relevant to her students' lives through project-based learning, using historical resources and knowledge to establish those connections. Key examples are student-led history lessons shared with elementary students and interactive classroom discussions on civic responsibilities. Their high scores on North Dakota's Eighth Grade Civics exam validate the positive learning experiences in her classroom. Erica is active in her school and district professional learning communities through the implementation of new social studies standards. She mentors student teachers and new hires and works with colleagues to create lessons and differentiate instruction. Her knowledge of education technology helped her colleagues develop new ways for students to participate and learn through remote teaching techniques. 

John Rosenbaum is a 2021 Rhode Island Milken Educator and middle school social studies teacher at Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls. Through hands-on learning experiences, John makes history come alive for his students. His relatable approach to learning led eighth graders to outperform state averages in literacy and enter high school well-prepared for higher-level work. John works with colleagues on literacy strategies, co-teaching units and collective assessment and grading. He helped develop an official history curriculum for the school, served as a grade-level team leader, and mentors beginning teachers, all with a positive problem-solving approach. 

Michael Sandstrom is a 2019 Gilder Lehrman Nebraska History Teacher of the Year and a high school civics and history teacher at Chadron High School in Chadron. His strong belief in the importance of civic competence and historical knowledge guides his teaching style, leading to positive student outcomes. Using local historical resources, students connect their past to the national issues facing them today. Michael believes that constitutional studies are essential for students to understand the foundation of our country and become contributing citizens who can enact positive change. His passion for understanding the constitution has created meaningful professional development opportunities, such as a James Madison Memorial Foundation fellowship and selection to the Teachers Council of the Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute. 

Kelly Sheridan is a 2023 Idaho Milken Educator and the assistant principal/dean of students at Compass Academy, a project-based magnet in Idaho Falls, serving students in ninth through 12 grades. As the school's former art teacher, Kelly positively impacted the campus climate by incorporating art into the core curriculum and serving as an instructional leader. Equipped with classroom and leadership Experience, Kelly is a valuable role model for students and teachers. A leader in Compass Academy's instructional program, Kelly is involved with Guiding Coalition, a leadership team that designs and implements professional development. She helps teachers coordinate their instruction with the state standards of excellence, using data and research-based instructional strategies. Kelly's close monitoring of student progress and engaging families in their students' learning contributed to the significant increase in the school's graduation rate. 

During their time in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and support in helping students cultivate a passion for learning through the creation of projects that initiate positive change. Fellows will be equipped to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students, applying and evaluating the stories of these role models who have changed the world throughout history.

About LMC

Established in 2007 as a partnership between philanthropist and education visionary Lowell Milken and 1992 Kansas Milken Educator and history teacher Norm Conard, the international Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes works with students and educators across diverse academic disciplines to develop history projects that highlight role models who demonstrate courage, compassion and respect. Through a unique project-based learning approach, students discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes who have made a profound and positive impact on the course of history. By championing these Unsung Heroes, students, educators and communities discover their own responsibility to effect positive change in the world. LMC has reached over 3,000,000 students worldwide through its online projects, educator resources and student competitions. The Fort Scott headquarters has welcomed visitors from all 50 states and around the world. For more information, visit