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Edu-bloggers win SmartBrief award

SmartBrief Education celebrates educator voice with the annual Educators' Choice Content Award.

2 min read

Voice of the Educator



The SmartBrief Education team each year celebrates educator voice with the annual Educator’s Choice Content Award. This year’s winners are:

  • Mary Tarashuk, an educator at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Westfield, N.J.

  • Barbara Blackburn, a teacher turned education consultant, author and speaker

The 20 nominees for the third annual award received nearly 1500 votes from peers and SmartBrief readers. Mary’s original content piece Teaching By Doing Something Meaningful and Barbara’s article The 6 Characteristics of Effective Praise helped them secure the top spots.

Mary Tarashuk

Mary teaches fourth grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Westfield, N.J. She has been an educator for 19 years. She also is a creative consultant for the national nonprofit initiative, The Walking Classroom Institute.

“I’m happy to report that “do something meaningful syndrome” is still going strong in 4T,” Mary said upon learning about the award. “Thank you so much for the nomination, and for reading my article.”

“It’s nice to know that other people can relate to the shared frustrations that so many educators face today,” she added. “Sharing my own day-to-day challenges helps me poke fun at the craziness of it all, while still seeking answers that will best serve my students.”

Barbara Blackburn

Barbara is an educator turned author and consultant. She is the author of 15 books, including “Rigor is Not a Four Letter Word.” An expert in the areas of rigor and motivation, she collaborates with schools and districts for professional development. Her latest book is “Motivating Struggling Learners: 10 Ways to Build Student Success.”

“I am excited to be recognized by SmartBrief, especially since it is a major voice for educators,” Barbara said. “My goal in writing The 6 Characteristics of Effective Praise was to reach educators and inspire them to reach students in new ways.”

“My father, a lifelong teacher and professor, taught me the importance of educators having a voice,” she noted. “He continually reminds me that if we want to make a difference, we must share our perspectives in ways that are heard by decision-makers.”

SmartBrief will honor the winners during a reception at ASCD’s annual conference held in Anaheim, Calif., March 25-27.


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