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2020 Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Teacher Award

Congratulations to Ms. Martene Campbell and Dr. Kathleen House for being awarded the Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Teacher Award!

The Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Faculty Award was established by Mr. and Mrs. Warren A. Stephens in May of 2004 and is the highest honor bestowed upon members of the Episcopal Collegiate faculty. The awards are named for Mr. Jackson T. Stephens in honor of his life-long support of education and the significant role he played in making Episcopal Collegiate School a reality.

Mr. Stephens grew up on a farm in Prattsville, Arkansas along with five brothers and sisters. Growing up in the Depression, he developed values of determination, loyalty, hard work and integrity that he would carry with him throughout his life. As a young boy, he picked cotton and was also a bellhop and delivered telegrams at the Barlow Hotel in Hope, Arkansas. Mr. Stephens considered his work as an opportunity to better himself and to help his family.

Mr. Stephens graduated from Columbia Military Academy in 1941, then attended the University of Arkansas, followed by an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. After graduating from Annapolis in 1946, he returned to Arkansas to become partners with his brother, W. R. “Witt” Stephens, and together they formed Stephens, Inc. Mr. Stephens became CEO and Chairman in 1956 and remained Chairman until his death in 2005. Throughout his career he exemplified the high ethical and moral standards with which he was raised and considered reputation and integrity his most valuable assets. Mr. Stephens was true to his own beliefs and vision. Even when his decisions departed from “popular wisdom,” he followed his own path.

Episcopal Collegiate School is proud to have Jackson T. Stephens as one of its role models. His hard work, core values, vision and commitment to education set a great example for our students and faculty.

The Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Faculty award is presented annually to a faculty member who best exemplifies the qualities which characterized Mr. Stephens’ life and work. This award recognizes an Episcopal Collegiate teacher who is humble, energetic, innovative, and who sets high expectations for student learning. The award honors a teacher who strives to create a learning environment based upon mutual respect, trust and compassion, thus facilitating the development of a confident learner and leader. Because of the disruptions to our school schedule caused by Covid-19, we have two faculty members we would like to recognize today.

Troy Urquhart, Head of Upper School, recognized the first recipient saying:

“When asked about their experiences in this teacher’s classes, our students describe an open and engaging space, one in which they feel supported by the teacher’s expertise in the subject, by her enthusiasm as a teacher, and by the confidence she instills in them. Just last Friday, one of our seniors recalled how this teacher “taught [her] how to use [her] already existing experiences as well as research . . . to form solid opinions.” Another student told me recently that this teacher “makes sure we feel confident in what we are doing and makes herself open enough so that we feel comfortable asking questions.” We know that however great a teacher’s subject-area expertise--one student remarked that “she knows it like the back of her hand”--student success is closely tied to the relationships that are built in the classroom, and this teacher’s warm, engaging, and supportive approach with her students builds relationships and supports student success: she sets very high expectations for all of her students, and she empowers them to reach those expectations.

A long-time member of our school community, she serves as one of our department chairs, extending that same enthusiasm, engagement, and support to her work with her colleagues. 

Her leadership as coach of our school’s debate program has helped a diverse group of students discover their passion for public speaking, debate, parliamentary procedure, and original oratory. The evidence of the passion she has cultivated in these students is wide-ranging, with Episcopal’s students regularly bringing home awards and commendations from state and national competitions.

She has recently been recognized for her outstanding work by the City Education Trust, by the National Speech and Debate Association, by the Arkansas Department of Education, and by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She is kind, compassionate, generous with her expertise, her insight, and her time. It is my pleasure and great honor to present the Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Faculty Award to an exceptional teacher in our Upper School, one who makes a positive difference not only in the lives of the students she teaches, but also in the lives of all of us who are fortunate to call her our colleague: Ms. Martene Campbell.”

Head of Lower School, Catherine Schuhmacher, had this to say about the following recipient:

“Today, we recognize the 2020 Lower School recipient of the Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Faculty Award. This teacher was chosen for her daily commitment to embody the qualities that support the mission of Episcopal Collegiate School. 

Some of the first words that come to mind when referencing this teacher are kind, helpful, generous, thoughtful, professional, and dedicated.  Throughout her tenure at Episcopal, this teacher has demonstrated a deep commitment to students, fellow faculty members, and the School in her daily work.  She has worn many hats over the years and proven her capability and dedication in each role. In each of these assignments, she has supported and challenged our faculty and leadership team to think critically and thoughtfully about how best we can serve students and continue to deliver educational excellence.  In that same vein, she has challenged students to think critically and “outside the box” to come up with their own strategies and talk through their thinking.

This teacher’s love of learning began early in her life while working in a church nursery program. It was here that she developed her first curriculum for an early childhood program.  She then had the pleasure of student teaching with her own PreK teacher which was a highlight in her educational journey. Her love of learning has not stopped as she has worked tirelessly over the past several years to continue her education and depth of knowledge. Just recently, she successfully defended her dissertation and earned her Doctorate of Education degree.  

Here at Episcopal, this teacher has served as math specialist to many grade levels and covered several maternity leaves offering a seamless transition for our students and teachers. She was instrumental in the successful implementation of our new math curriculum in the Lower School, and since that time she has helped countless students and teachers sharpen their Singapore math knowledge and strategies. 

During our virtual months of learning last Spring, she was instrumental in helping teachers navigate this new world of teaching, always available for questions, venting, or sharing successes. And, just this summer, she worked countless hours to help build our comprehensive professional development site which was crucial to our success with future virtual learning.  In many ways, this teacher has become a teacher to our teachers. 

For her thoughtful and generous spirit, her dedication to continual growth, and her ongoing work in support of her colleagues and the School, it is my pleasure to present the 2020 Lower School recipient of the Jackson T. Stephens Outstanding Faculty Award to our Curriculum Specialist and Singapore Math guru, Dr. Kathleen House."

Want to Learn More?

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