story by Claire Miller
College of Education & Human Development alumnus Michael Pope (B.S.E. ’99) was one of 38 educators to receive the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation’s California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence.
Each state’s NEA affiliate nominates individuals for the award, which recognizes educators for their excellence in instructional and professional practice, according to the NEA Foundation’s website. Awardees receive $650 for their schools and are invited to attend the NEA Foundation’s annual Salute to Excellence in Education Gala to accept their awards.
Pope teaches eighth grade science at Zama American Middle School on the U.S. Army’s base in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, and was nominated to represent all U.S. Department of Defense schools in the U.S. and abroad.
“This was a great honor to represent all my colleagues worldwide and to have my accomplishments as an educator acknowledged,” Pope said.
Over the course of his career, Pope has received three Fulbright awards, been nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching twice, and worked with the Morehouse School of Medicine and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute to review NASA curriculum for middle school science classes. In 2014, he was named a National Endowment for Humanities scholar and in 2016, he participated in the U.S. Naval Academy SET Sail STEM Educators training in Annapolis, Md.
He credits the time he spend in the CEHD – and the faculty and students he worked with – for preparing him for a successful career in education.
“I thank Georgia State for the research-based middle school program that I draw upon in my daily teaching and how it sets me apart from my colleagues,” he said. “My professors for the middle school education program promoted thinking, reasoning and research as tools to understanding, inspire and educate rather than just to teach a concept. These ideals I still use and infuse into my teaching despite learning them so many years ago. They are still as good as gold today.”
The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. For more information about the foundation and its awards, visit https://www.neafoundation.org.