Peter Wyndorf, a social studies teacher at Milton High School, has won the first ever Champlain Valley Educator Development Center Innovative Leadership Award.
The award is a new annual award given in the honor of Ned Kirsch, a long-time Vermont educator and member of the CVEDC advisory board. CVEDC is a non-profit organization with the primary focus of supporting proficiency-based, personalized learning.
Wyndorf was selected by the nominating committee for his commitment to student voice, inclusion and diversity and technology integration, according to a CVEDC press release.
“I first heard of the award just before going to sleep last week,” Wyndorf said in an email to the Independent. “I didn’t know that I had been nominated, so at first I thought it was a mistake.”
Wyndorf has been a teacher in the Milton Township School District since 2009. He has spent the last year on sabbatical helping to start a bilingual school in Hà Nội, Vietnam.
During his time at Milton High School, Wyndorf has taught grades 9 and10 and has been an elective teacher for students in grades 9-12.
Wyndorf is heavily involved in Creative Media, a set of electives students can take that includes filmmating and audio engineering.
MaryJane Stinson, a co-principal at MHS, has worked with Wyndorf for many years, she said.
“He’s a fierce advocate for students,” Stinson said. “He’s really pushed us to be a better educational group, and I think he’s done a lot with helping kids show their creativity.”
Anne Blake, co-principal of MHS, pointed to Yellow Jacket TV, an online news show that was started by Wyndorf and is now completely produced by students, as an example of how much Wyndorf cares about amplifying student voices.
“I think he sees the use of technology, not just as a tool, but as a way of creating change,” Blake said.
Wyndorf serves as the adviser for Students for Social Justice, an extracurricular club at Milton High School. He said it was started in response to racism in the Milton community and schools.
“Youth at MHS needed a platform to learn about America’s racist history and the inequities and harm it continues to cause, to share stories of the lived experiences of youth of color, and to take action,” he stated.
Wyndorf said he will use the award’s $1,500 in prize money to take immediate action to support local people of color with direct compensation.
“Additionally, I would like to use it to expand the opportunities available for youth involved with Students for Social Justice in their work to support their peers and community at MHS,” he stated.
Blake said she is very proud an educator from Milton High School was selected as the first recipient for the CVEDC Innovative Leadership Award.
“Everything that Pete does, goes back to honoring the community,” she said.
Stinson agreed, saying, “I think he is a really good representative of the school and what we are trying to do for kids.”