The World Affairs Council is proud to announce Lisa Clarke of Kent-Meridian High School as the recipient of the 2011 World Educator Award!
Congratulations to Lisa Clarke, the World Affairs Council’s 2011-12 World Educator! Each year, the Council honors a local K-12 teacher who demonstrates leadership in connecting students to the world and contributes to the development of new programs and resources that enable other teachers to do the same. Over the past few years, Lisa has served as Curriculum Leader/Social Studies Head at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Washington. She works diligently to keep each of her students engaged on a global level. “As an educator teaching in a high-needs school with a significant immigrant population, I believe that my students already have a personal and nuanced understanding of world affairs. My job is to build on their knowledge and help them uncover and unpack how world affairs have shaped and continue to shape our community. This means that students discover how decisions and events in one country impact local, national, and international communities.”
According to one of Lisa’s colleagues, “Lisa is beloved at our school. I can’t stress this enough. Students who enter her class never realize how much blood, sweat, and tears go into their work for her since she is so well liked. It’s truly amazing to watch. Her course may be the first advanced history class they have ever taken. She is tasked with readying them for 12th grade IB History where they must eventually take a series of essay assessments that last a total of five and a half hours—covering 11th and 12th grade curriculum. This is not an easy charge considering we teach at a poverty school where over 68% of students receive free or reduced lunch. Many of our students do not speak English as their first language and some are refugees from nations such as Somalia, Iraq, and Burma. There are skill and content gaps for almost every student. Lisa’s task is huge, and she meets this challenge.”
Lisa works tirelessly to connect students to important global issues. One example comes in what she has chosen to teach—History of the Americas. Typically Washington students are expected to enroll in a course called U.S. History. Lisa’s version of this class is comparative, global, and honors the diverse histories of all of the Americas.
Outside of the classroom, Lisa wears many “world educator” hats. She assists in coordinating and advising International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates as they craft a service learning project of global importance. She stood behind students who planned and organized a benefit concert for earthquake victims of Haiti in 2010. Through Lisa’s relationship building, she helped students partner with our local East African community center to create an afterschool tutoring program. She has recently been appointed as a member of the Superintendent’s Professional Learning Community in Kent to work closely with 15 other teachers from across the district to improve education in all grade levels and to improve world education more broadly in the Kent School District. She has also developed numerous curricula including a year-long unit on Contemporary World Issues. She has led workshops at local, national, and international conferences. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Washington State Council for Social Studies and as a Global Classroom Teacher Liaison.