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06.20.22
Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Welcomes First Week of 2022 Fellows to Fort Scott, Kansas
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LMC Fellows from left to right: Jaime Danen, Brian Allman, Sean Griffin, Libya Doman, Lana Sawalha, and Ben Nguyen.

FORT SCOTT, Kan., — The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes, an international educational nonprofit in Fort Scott, Kansas, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to 11 educators from Alabama, California, Delaware, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Amersfoort, Netherlands. This week, six 2022 Fellows will enjoy collaboration with LMC staff in Fort Scott. The second cohort will arrive next week.

The LMC Fellowship is a merit-based award for educators of all disciplines who value the importance of teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning. LMC selects exemplary teachers from the U.S. and around the world to explore in depth how to create projects that discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

LMC will welcome these six extraordinary educators this week:

Brian Allman, a nationally recognized public school teacher and administrator, is from Buckhannon, West Virginia. In 2019, Allman was recognized with West Virginia's Milken Educator Award, also known as the "Oscars of Teaching." He was selected as a member of the West Virginia State Journal's "Generation Next: 40 Under 40" and received the Young Alumni Achievement Award at West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2020. Allman is also a Retro Report Teacher Ambassador and an executive board member of the West Virginia Council for Social Studies. Allman participates on the West Virginia Courts Learning Center Education committee, does consulting work for Teacher Created Materials, and has served on several other statewide task forces and committees in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education.

Jaime Danen who, after 23 years in the Green Bay Area Public School district, is leaving Aldo Leopold Community School as a middle school English teacher to become a literacy and leadership specialist at Notre Dame Academy High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Danen is a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow and has facilitated workshops for teachers and future teachers on Holocaust and genocide studies. She also facilitates and hosts a social justice film and speaker series for her students and other students in the area. She is a Bill of Rights Fellow and worked to bring social justice issues to the forefront in her classroom and school. Additionally, she works with an organization in Green Bay to deliver leadership coaching and training for school administrators, teachers, and students; their latest conference had 20 high schoolers design and lead a conference for 100 local middle school students.

Libya Doman, who taught visual art in Fairfax County Public Schools elementary schools for 17 years prior to moving to middle school, was named National Art Education Association's 2021 Southeastern Elementary Art Educator of the Year, as well as Virginia Art Education Association's 2020 Art Educator of the Year and Elementary Art Educator of the Year. Doman founded the social justice and education equity consulting firm Disrupting Norms after serving as an induction coach, curriculum writer, and model teacher in her school system, as well as an adjunct professor at George Mason University. As a facilitator for schools, universities, museums, associations and other organizations, Doman also designs and delivers curriculums, workshops, and keynotes to help educators grapple with topics that are often deemed "taboo," such as race and gender.

Sean Griffin, a seventh grade U.S. History teacher, is completing his second year at Brambleton Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia. The 2021-22 school year was his 18ear as a teacher for Loudoun County Public Schools and his 2 year as an educator. In 2010, he received a Virginia Milken Educator Award. Griffin has been a consistent presenter and mentor at the annual Teachers of Promise Institute, which honors pre-service teachers as they enter the profession. Griffin has been trained in personalized learning and project-based learning, incorporating these educational platforms into his daily teaching to inspire critical thinking and help students connect historical topics and themes to their daily lives. This fall, Sean will begin his first year as the Subject Area Lead Teacher for the Social Sciences and Global Studies department at Brambleton.

Ben Nguyen, an eighth-year high school science and Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher at Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, was a 2019 Nevada Milken Educator. Nguyen works to create pathways to career certification, gainful employment, and academic access for his students through his engagement with local and state communities. He also participates in many events throughout each school year, giving presentations on technology and research, leading workshops to teach and mentor other students, and attending his students' participation in local STEAM competitions. Nguyen has been involved with organizations in various industries for which he prepares his students and, in 2019, worked as a teacher advisor with the Tesla K-12 Investment in Nevada on workforce development and education programs. He also serves as a board member in numerous nonprofit organizations to create opportunities for all students and community members.

Lana Sawalha, a high school history teacher at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in Santa Ana, CA, brings her experience living abroad to connect with her students and create culturally responsive lessons. In her time at OCSA, she has focused on curriculum development for Global Studies and piloted two new classes this year, Ethnic Studies and Comparative Government. She has been awarded two professional development grants at OCSA totaling $1,460 and was accepted to the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Summer 2021 Institute on a full scholarship. She is most interested in lesson design to enhance student engagement and foster equitable learning, especially noting the challenges students are facing during post-pandemic learning. Lana also supports student achievement beyond the classroom as an advisor to both the Model United Nations and National History Day clubs.

While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and support in helping students cultivate a passion for learning through the creation of projects that initiate positive change. Fellows will be equipped to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students, applying and evaluating the stories of these role models who have changed the world throughout history.

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“In every endeavor, people make the difference, and just one person has the power to make a profound difference in the lives of so many people.” - Lowell Milken