The University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education Foundation has announced the winners of its 2013 Outstanding Alumni Awards. Among them are the principal of an elementary school with children from 50 foreign countries, a national expert on concussions and a champion lacrosse coach.
The awards honor alumni who have made significant contributions in their chosen professional field. Nominations for the Outstanding Alumni Awards come from members of the Curry School community and professional colleagues. The winners are selected by the Curry Foundation Honors and Awards Committee, led by Professor Emeritus Richard R. Abidin. The award recipients are invited to a dinner in their honor, to be held Oct. 24.
• The recipient of the Curry School Distinguished Alumni Award is Kevin Guskiewicz, Kenan Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sports Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Guskiewicz is recognized internationally for his laboratory and field-based research on sport-related concussions. His work has been published in top athletic training and sports medicine journals and in general medicine journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics and Neurosurgery.
Findings from his research have led to changes in the clinical practice of sports medicine, including the use of balance testing in concussion diagnosis, increases in sit-out time for athletes after concussions and computerized neurocognitive testing for concussion now regularly used in intercollegiate and professional sports settings.
His frequent appearances in national media outlets to raise public awareness about head injuries and advocate for sports safety policy make Guskiewicz one of the most visible spokespersons in the sports medicine profession. His visibility was raised even further in 2011 when he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship – the first athletic trainer to win the so-called “genius award.”
Guskiewicz received a bachelor’s degree from West Chester University, a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctor of philosophy degree in sports medicine from the Curry School of Education in 1995.
• Mahri Aste, principal of Mosby Woods Elementary School in Fairfax, received the Outstanding Principal Award.
Aste has been an educator in the Fairfax County Public Schools since 1990, when she began teaching at Mosby Woods. She later became assistant principal and then principal of Lynbrook Elementary, returning to Mosby Woods as principal in 2004.
Her school of 940 students from 50 different countries has met Adequate Yearly Progress standards for the Virginia Standards of Learning every year from 2005 to 2012 in all subgroup populations. In 2006 and 2007, her school was named a National Title I Distinguished School. She received the Virginia Board of Education Excellence Award in 2010 and the Virginia Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence in 2011.
In partnership with the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts program, Mosby Woods has become a model school for arts integration in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Aste is known for her inspirational leadership of the staff, her high educational aspirations for all students and for her community service. She maintains a food pantry in the school for needy families, and has organized a Walk for the Homeless, as well as the Shining Stars program during the winter holidays to provide clothing and gifts to needy students and their families.
Aste earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and two degrees from the Curry School: a master’s degree in early childhood education in 1990 and an education doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies in 2009.
• Two teachers were selected to receive a $500 grant from the Curry School Foundation to be used for professional development.
The recipient of the Outstanding High School Teacher/Counselor award is John M. Kenney, an upper-school history teacher, Honor Council adviser and lacrosse coach at Detroit Country Day School, a private school in Beverly Hills, Mich. An educator for more than three decades, he joined the school’s faculty in 1999. This popular teacher is known by students and colleagues alike for his ability to make learning history both challenging and enjoyable. He was named a 2007 Nobel Educator of Distinction and a Hope College Educator of Excellence.
As lacrosse coach, he has won more than 375 games, is a six-time coach of the year and a four-time Man of the Year. He is past president of the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association and the U.S. Lacrosse Men’s Coaches Council. He is a member of the Michigan Lacrosse Coaches Hall of Fame.
Kenney received his bachelor of science degree in health and physical education from the Curry School of Education in 1976 and his master’s degree from Wheaton College in 1984.
The recipient of the Outstanding PreK-Elementary Teacher/Counselor award is Michele Mathieson.
She taught science in the Little Keswick School outside Charlottesville for nearly 15 years, where she worked with emotionally disturbed and learning disabled adolescent boys. Since 1999, she has been an educator at St. Anne’s-Belfield School. After six years of classroom teaching there, she became the Lower School’s librarian and media specialist and is now also the school’s technology resource coordinator.
Known as an agent of change in the school, Mathieson frequently collaborates with classroom teachers to bring technology into learning activities. She mentors new teachers at St. Anne’s and has conducted in-service training for Charlottesville City Schools and Fluvanna County Schools. She co-founded the Park Street Academy in Charlottesville, now known as the Park School.
St. Anne’s has presented Mathieson with its Lower School Teacher of the Year Award and its Diana Smith Teaching Mastership Award.
Mathieson earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Education degree from the Curry School of Education in 1992.