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National Career Academy Coalition names Carson ‘Exemplary Educator’


​​​A lead member of the Rockford Public Schools’ high school redesign team was recognized this weekend with a national award for his work on the RPS 205 high school academies. Dave ​Carson, Executive Director of College and Career Readiness, was given the Exemplary Educator Award Saturday from the National Career Academy Coalition. The coalition presented the award to Carson last week at an annual conference in Arlington, Va. Several RPS 205 staff members also attended the conference and made presentations.

The Exemplary Academy Educator Award is given to an academy educator who has made a significant contribution to the success of a career academy. This might include providing leadership for the startup of an academy, consistent delivery of high quality teaching or finding ways to ensure an academy is sustainable. “This is shown by their leadership, through the delivery of high quality teaching or by finding ways to assure the sustainability of the academy,” said Angie Grasberger, President of the National Career Academy Coalition. “David Carson is a perfect example of the kind of educator we would expect to lead his staff to be the best they can be in order to prepare their students for the real world.”

Roosevelt Principal Dr. Heidi Houy nominated Carson for the award, describing him as supporting, encouraging, inspiring, and knowledgeable, and the “key to the success of our academies.”

“Mr. Carson is the ‘mission keeper’ of the academy model in Rockford,” Houy wrote in her nomination. “On top of all he has done to get it up and going, he has also built strong partnerships with key community stakeholders and played a vital role in the strengthening of our community partnership with Alignment Rockford. In Rockford, we would not be where we are in terms of implementation or success with our Academies without David Carson.”

Alignment Rockford Team Manager Diane Peters also nominated Carson, saying, “You’d be hard pressed to find another Academy leader more passionate, more involved, more dedicated and more effective than Dave Carson.”

Carson came to Jefferson High School as a teacher in 2005. He was promoted to Director of College and Career Readiness in June of 2012, and he became the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness in July of 2013.​

The other awards at the conference include the National Standards of Practice Career Academy Award of Distinction, Henk Koning Exemplary Partnership Award, and the Exemplary Academy Alumni Award. For more information about the National Career Academy Coalition, visit​.