Students at Memphis' Cypress Junior High School clamor for a place in classes taught by language arts and social studies teacher Kana Barker-Mabon. In one course, Ms. Barker-Mabon teaches about the Sistine Chapel by allowing students to decorate an acoustical ceiling tile after they've researched and written a proposal to support their tile design. Her creative instruction is paying off in dramatic rises in student achievement scores and academic engagement. A former U.S. Army intelligence officer, she also teaches character education and is the site coordinator for AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a secondary school program that prepares underachieving students for four-year college entry. Ms. Barker-Mabon is active in a number of professional and community groups, and serves on state committees responsible for language arts curriculum revision and benchmarking.
1995 Rhodes College, B.S.