CSUSA Honors Emma Donnan Teacher with the New American Hero Award

Grace Underwood is the 2014 CSUSA New American Hero

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Dec. 15, 2014) – Charter Schools USA (CSUSA) awarded Emma Donnan Middle School’s teacher, Grace Underwood, with its top honor today – The New American Hero award. The New American Hero Award is an organization-wide honor recognizing CSUSA’s top teacher. Underwood will receive $5,000 for her selection.

51 schools within CSUSA’s network nominated one teacher. In 2014, Emma Donnan Middle School in Indianapolis nominated Underwood. She was selected from a group of five finalists that included Jennifer Wilson (Langtree Charter Academy), Catherine Ness (Four Corners), Stephanie Campbell (Cape Coral Charter School), and Elyse Kotkin (North Broward Academy of Excellence).

Underwood teaches special education for 7th and 8th grades. Twenty-five percent of students at Emma Donnan and 15 percent of students throughout CSUSA’s entire network receive special education services.

“Grace is one of those unique individuals who approaches teaching as a mission and a calling,” said Sherry Hage, CSUSA’s chief academic officer. “She starts each day with purpose and is making an impact in the lives of every student, especially those with learning disabilities.”

“I am so excited and honored to receive the New American Hero Award. Teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities can only be effective if everyone is a part of the process,” said Underwood. “This award shows that our school is successful in regards to educating all students and that my students are making life-changing gains.”

Underwood earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Ohio State University and a Master of Art in teaching at Marian University in Indianapolis. Both degrees included a focus on special education.

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About Charter Schools USA
Emma Donnan Middle School, Emmerich Manual High School and TC Howe Community High School, were slated for turn around by the Indiana Department of Education after receiving failing grades for seven consecutive years, including two years of probation. Formerly run by IPS, the three schools are part of a larger turn-around operation that includes two independent school management operators. CSUSA took over the reins as operator in July 2012 and was recently granted a two-year extension by a unanimous vote of the State Board of Education. Emmerich Manual is the first school to earn a grade high enough to be removed from the failing list in its second year. CSUSA is one of the nation’s fastest growing and most successful education management companies serving more than 60,000 students in seven states. CSUSA was chosen for its strong track record of running high performing schools and turning around poor performing schools.

Media Contact:
Robert Vane, Cell: 317-696-9443, Email: robert@veteranstrategies.com

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