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Award honors exemplary public school teacher who employs innovative strategies in classroom

Updated Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 | 11:24 a.m.

The Myra Greenspun Teacher Excellence Award was established in 2008 by the Public Education Foundation through the vision of Myra Greenspun, a community leader, the wife of Las Vegas Sun Publisher and Editor Brian Greenspun and a fierce education advocate.

The prestigious award recognizes an exemplary public school teacher who uses innovative teaching strategies to raise student achievement. The honor is bestowed to great teachers who share innovative ideas and programs among educators to improve education in Southern Nevada.

Manda Kristof, a fifth-grade writing teacher at William Ferron Elementary School in east Las Vegas, received the 2012 Myra Greenspun Teacher Excellence Award.

Kristof, 36, was selected for her innovative teaching strategies, which have been credited with raising her students’ writing proficiency scores by more than 20 percentage points since 2005.

By posing a thought-provoking question, and then having students think about their response with a partner before writing, Kristof encourages critical thinking and reflection. Afterward, students score their own writing based on a number of factors and assess their strengths and areas of improvement.

"I'm excited to honor the outstanding work that Manda is doing," Myra Greenspun said. "Not only is she dedicated to her students' success in elementary school, but she also works to instill in her students a lifelong passion for learning well after they've left Ferron Elementary School."

Kristof received $3,000, to be used to further her classroom, school or professional development. She also received an honorarium of $1,000 and 500 points to the Public Education Foundation's Teacher Exchange, a resource center for Clark County School District educators.

Kristof was nominated by her school principal, Christy Beaird, and was selected by an impartial panel of judges selected by the Public Education Foundation, a nonprofit group that has raised nearly $80 million to improve Las Vegas schools.

"Manda's remarkable dedication demonstrates the value and promise of public education," said Judi Steele, president of the foundation.

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