Education team receives state-wide award

April 1, 2009

Two Indiana State University professors received the Indiana Association of School Principals President's Award, the first time such an award has been given to anyone in academia.

IASP President Franzy Fleck presented the award to Todd and Beth Whitaker in a surprise ceremony. Todd is a professor of educational leadership, administrations, and foundations. Beth is an associate professor of early, elementary and special education.

"This award means a great deal to both of us," said Beth, who is married to Todd. "We moved to Indiana 14 years ago and knew no one. We are honored to think that we have made an impact in this great state and that people regard our contributions in a positive light."

"Each year the president of IASP has the privilege of giving the President's Award to an outstanding leader in the field of education who has made a positive impact on the lives of students in Indiana," said Fleck. "They both have made numerous contributions in education, in teacher and principal development, and in school leadership with teachers, principals and school communities."

Before coming to Indiana State, the Whitakers both served as school administrators.

"Todd and I have shared a rich and full journey in education," Beth said. "We used each other's expertise and learned from the wide array of situations we would encounter as principals."

In Beth's final year as an elementary school principal in Jefferson City, Mo., her school was awarded the National Blue Ribbon of Excellence. During Todd's time as an administrator, he coordinated the building, curriculum, and staffing development of two new middle schools.

Together, the couple has written five books, and Beth said they find the collaboration very easy.

"Our beliefs about education are the same and we aren't afraid to use constant feedback with each other," she said. "If you write with someone you really know well, the process is smooth and comfortable. Living in the same household also makes editing easy."

They have co-written books such as "Teaching Matters: Motivating and Inspiring Yourself" and "Motivating and Inspiring Teachers: The Educational Leaders' Guide for Building Staff Morale."

Both are national speakers in teacher education, the principalship and school leadership.

"We feel very fortunate to work with future and present educators at Indiana State University," said Beth. "This institution has provided us the support and opportunity to connect with our school partners. We know these positive relationships are vital to the success of our programs."

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Contact: Todd Whitaker, Indiana State University, professor, educational leadership, administration and foundations, at (812) 237-2904 or email twhitaker1@isugw.indstate.edu 

Beth Whitaker, Indiana State University, associate professor, elementary, early, and special education, at (812) 237-2855 or email mwhitaker@indstate.edu 

Writer: Jennifer Spector, Indiana State University, media relations intern, (812) 237-3773 or email jennifer.spector47@gmail.com 

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/137142516_EC3T5-L.jpg 

Cutline: Todd Whitaker

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/132505914_tR96q-L.jpg 

Cutline: Beth Whitaker