STORRS, CT – Joseph S. Renzulli, a distinguished professor of educational psychology in the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, is one of three outstanding 2009 educators to receive the prestigious Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education.
As the director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at UConn and the Neag Chair in Gifted Education and Talented Development, Renzulli is known for his groundbreaking research in gifted and talented education. His Schoolwide Enrichment Model has been used in more than 2,500 schools nationwide.
Joining Renzulli in receiving honors Tuesday (Sept. 29) were Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education, a not-for-profit organization working to accelerate Latino success in higher education; and Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun professor of education at Stanford University, who founded the School Redesign Network. The Network is dedicated to transforming schools to teach 21st century skills. The recipients were recognized Tuesday during a dinner at the New York Public Library.
“Providing an exceptional education to students of all backgrounds and skills sets is critical if we want our country, and our citizens, to succeed in today's global, knowledge-based economy,” said Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies. “In order for our nation to maintain its standing in the world, our educational system needs innovators who are always looking to push beyond boundaries to identify creative, effective solutions to our biggest challenges. Each of this year’s recipients has done just that and as a result has made a tremendous difference in the lives of students and educators.”
The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to enhancing learning in this country and whose accomplishments are making a difference today. Honorees are chosen by a distinguished Board of Judges from the education community. Each winner receives a gift of $25,000 and a bronze sculpture. The Prize was established in 1988 to honor Mr. McGraw’s lifelong commitment to education and to mark the Corporation’s 100th anniversary. This year marks the 22nd year of the program.
Renzulli’s research has focused on the identification and development of creativity and giftedness in young people and on organizational models and curricular strategies for differentiated learning environments that contribute to total school improvement. Researchers have found his Schoolwide Enrichment Model improved attitudes among students, teachers, parents and administrators toward gifted education and produced positive results in achievement.
Renzulli began his career as a math, reading and science teacher in Ocean Township, New Jersey. He received a B.A. from Glassboro State College in New Jersey, a M.Ed. from Rutgers University and an Ed.D. from the University of Virginia.
“I was floored by it,” Renzulli said after receiving news of the award. “This is my 44th year at UConn, and it’s nice to know that somebody out there thinks I’m doing something worthwhile.”
Renzulli credited his wife and partner at the National Research Center, Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology Sally Reis, for her work and innovations in the field of gifted and talented education. The couple recently developed a new on-line enrichment program known as Renzulli Learning and published a book together – “Light Up Your Child’s Mind: Finding a Unique Pathway to Happiness and Success,” ($25.99, Aug. 2009, Little Brown & Co.)
The University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education is currently the top ranked public graduate school of education on the East Coast, according to U.S.News & World Report, and is an NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) accredited school of education – the standard of excellence in teacher preparation. For more information, please visit www.education.uconn.edu for more information.
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Editor’s Note: Photo of Renzulli available upon request.