Skyview High School teacher Rob Sparks received the 2013 BP Teacher of the Year award in a ceremony Wednesday at the Soldotna Senior Center.
The award includes a $1,500 scholarship for continuing education and a bronze sculpture by Alaska artist Mary Regat, according to information provided by BP.
Sparks teaches social studies, 10th grade world history and 12th grade government at Skyview High School. Believing education is a 24-hour experience, Sparks encourages his students to discuss information from school at home, and has received numerous comments from parents who say their children are knowledgeable about events and subjects they never had interest in before.
Sparks is a co-creator of the Classroom WithOut Walls (CWOW) Program which allows students to use digital devices and mobile technologies to connect with other parts of the world. Through CWOW, students have discussed important historical events with people who lived through them, and have been a part of videoconference lessons with students in Afghanistan, Kenya, Israel, Yemen and numerous states. This global teaching is bringing a new sense of learning and connectedness to the students at Skyview High and across the Peninsula.
Six other Kenai Peninsula teachers were honored as 2013 Teachers of Excellence. Each teacher receives $500, and their school receives a matching $500 grant. Those teachers include: Donna Austin, who teaches kindergarten at Chapman Elementary School; Susan Biggs, who teaches music at Redoubt Elementary School; Myla Liljemark, a social studies teacher at Seward Middle School; Lyn Maslow, a fourth-grade teacher at West Homer Elementary School; Renee Merkes, who teaches math at Soldotna High School; and Greg Zorbas, who teaches 10th grade world history at Kenai Central High School and is the co-creator of the CWOW program with Sparks and a third teacher.