Brown, Ebben win Kohl awards

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MHS band teacher Doug Brown and Glacier Creek sixth-grade teacher Lyndsey Ebben have been named 2020 Kohl Educational Foundation Teacher Fellowship winners.

Since 2015, six MCPASD staff  members -- Glacier Creek special education teacher Tim Ashe (2015), MHS and Kromrey German teacher Jolene Wochenske (2015), Kromrey principal Steve Soeteber (2016), MHS orchestra teacher Steve Kurr (2017), Glacier Creek band teacher Jeanne Hammes (2017) and Glacier Creek sixth-grade teacher Rhonda Veroeven (2018) -- have received Kohl Educational Foundation awards. In addition, Elm Lawn and Sunset Ridge art teacher Monica Kmak was honored in 2018 when she worked in Dodgeville.

Brown and Ebben  were two of 100 teachers selected from around the state. There were nine teachers from the CESA 2 region who were recognized. They were scheduled to be recognized along with recipients from CESAs 3 and 5 at a ceremony in Baraboo on May 16 but the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

Fellowship recipients are educators who have been chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and their leadership and service within and outside the classroom.

Brown and Ebben will each receive $6,000. Their respective schools will also receive $6,000 apiece.

Ebben graduated from UW-Madison. She previously taught as a kindergarten teacher at Hawthorne Elementary in the Madison Metropolitan School District. She joined MCPASD in 2011.

Ebben has been a member of the Glacier Creek School Improvement Team since 2013. She has been a new teacher mentor for the District and PBIS Tier 1 Coach at Glacier Creek since 2014. She has also been a co-coordinator for the H2O for Life fundraiser at Glacier Creek since 2013 that has raised more than $29,000.

She presented her action research project at the 2017 NCTM Innov8 Math conference in Las Vegas. The work involved the creation of a number sense program to boost the academic achievement of all, but in particular struggling students, many of whom are students of color. The program involved students participating in number sense activities, such as KenKen puzzles, to increase access and equity, remove barriers, and increase student engagement, Ebben said.

When looking at standardized test data at the end of nine weeks of completing this program, the most struggling students met or exceeded their expected growth score by 75 percent and all students exceeded their expected growth score by 25 percent. Students who did not participate in this program only met or exceeded their growth score by 2.3 percent.

"I am honored to be recognized for doing a job I love and enjoy,'' Ebben said. "As a teacher only nine years into my career, it is humbling to be acknowledged as a leader for positive change and for my ability to inspire a love of learning. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had so far as an educator to teach and learn in this District and I am excited for the years ahead.''

Brown, a Middleton native, is in his fifth year as Director of Jazz Studies, Percussion Ensemble, Marching Band, Hip Hop Education, and Co-Director of the MHS band department. During his time at MHS, the jazz program has grown from two ensembles to four. More than 175 students are now involved in the jazz program, including members who are vocalists, orchestra musicians and rock band performers. For the first time in the history of MHS, the Seven O’Clock Jazz Band directed by Brown advanced to the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival in New York City in 2019.

The concert ensembles, which currently have more than 300 students enrolled at MH, have also seen an overhaul and now include four large band ensembles and an audition-based Wind Ensemble with 44 students. Brown has created a program that provides students with opportunities for individualized instruction and small group instruction. Artistic staff members with specialization on specific instruments help with each students' progress on their respective instruments and provide valuable collaboration among teachers and students. Members of the MHS band will  participate in more than 200 events at the WSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Feb. 22.

For the past four years, Brown’s percussion class has competed at the Percussive Arts Society International Competition in the chamber ensemble division, solo marimba division, rudimental snare competition, and solo timpani division. Students have earned scholarships for world-renowned festivals, colleges, summer music clinics and are earning acceptance into the nation’s top musical institutions.

Before Brown’s arrival at MHS, the marching program was non-competitive and only rehearsed during the school day. He has helped transform the participation to a volunteer organization with an MHS record-making 198 members. For the 2019-20 marching season, the MHS bands performed a marching band show titled “Electric Counterpoint” that encompassed a juxtaposition of acoustic and electric music. The show featured students enrolled in Mr. Brown’s Evolution of Hip Hop course alongside colleagues of the MHS band department.

He most recently attended the OUSD African-American Male Achievement Symposium to engage in transformative schooling discussions for African American Boys K-12 as well as the Harvard  Graduate School of Education where he worked with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. Brown organized and conducted a high school ensemble performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City and a side-by-side with musicians from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He also attended the Essentially Ellington Band Director Academy in NYC as well as the Hip Hop in the Heartland Summer Institute.

Brown earned a bachelor's degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. While there, he studied percussion with John Beck, Bill Cahn, and Ruth Cahn. Brown established a series of music outreach events for inner-city schools, collaborating with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra.

Brown earned a master of musical arts in wind conducting at Louisiana State University studying under Frank Wickes. During his time at LSU, Brown served as a graduate conducting associate with the Symphonic Band, Symphonic Winds, and the Wind Ensemble, as well as a teaching assistant with the LSU Tiger Marching Band. Brown was an assistant student conductor with the Eastman Wind Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, LSU Big Band and Chamber Jazz Ensembles  and the LSU Percussion Ensemble.

He previously worked as an instrumental  music teacher at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington, N.M., Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, N.M., and the North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Beach, Fla.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be a Herb Kohl Fellowship recipient,'' Brown said. "I am grateful to work with students and educators who continue to innovate, create, explore, and are not afraid to push boundaries. An effective teacher finds ways to inspire enthusiasm in students, and incite a drive for more learning; with this fellowship, I will continue to foster student growth and do my part in preparing the next generation for success.''

The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established in 1990. The program has handed out more than $21.2 million to Wisconsin educators, students and schools.

"Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation,'' the former U.S. Senator said in a statement. "I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students, teachers, and principals and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future.''