Joseph Balchunas exemplifies outstanding teaching practices in his fourth-grade class at Fairway Elementary School in Miramar. Using cooperative groups, manipulatives and technology, he challenges his students to exercise critical thinking and problem solving. Mr. Balchunas started a Scrabble club to build his students' vocabulary and he develops their persuasive writing skills by having them write to their parents about a dream bicycle. His policy of calling parents weekly to inform them of classroom events yields a high degree of parental involvement in school events. Named Florida's Teacher of the Year for the year 2001, Mr. Balchunas is a team leader and a trainer in FCAT strategies and was instrumental in earning Fairway Elementary a National School of Excellence Award.
1995 Nova Southeastern University, B.A.