Last year’s Fishman Prize finalist offers advice to this year’s applicants

 (Elk Studios)

Dávila ES teacher Marie Krueger-Miller, who was named a finalist for the 2013 Fishman Prize, is encouraging other educators to apply for the award this year. Photo courtesy TNTP.

Last year, Dávila Elementary School’s own Marie Krueger-Miller was named one of nine finalists for The New Teacher Project’s (TNTP) Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice. This year, the fourth-grade English as a Second Language teacher is planning to apply for the award again — and she is offering advice to other educators who might be considering doing the same.

“Think about what truly makes you unique,” said Krueger-Miller. “There are so many phenomenal educators. How are you different? How do you add to your kids’ lives and the field as a whole?”

Krueger-Miller described her experience as a finalist as “transformative,” and noted that even though she didn’t win the biggest prize in 2013, “the opportunity to meet such talented, intelligent, and energetic people humbled and inspired me. The entire weekend was a whirlwind of networking, brainstorming, and instant professional development.”

Krueger-Miller added that she would advise any serious applicant to “go for it!”

“Just engaging in the application process is an opportunity to reflect and be proactive in our own growth,” she said. “We are constantly analyzing our lessons, student growth, management, and short-term professional development. But sometimes, it’s beneficial to step back and look at the big picture: mindset, mission statements, philosophies, and such. Perhaps my biggest take-away from the prize was a clearer sense of how I fit into the education field today and a stronger idea of the path I wish to tread.”