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ISU College of Education to Host Annual Celebrating Excellence Award Ceremony on April 14

April 10, 2023

The Idaho State University College of Education’s annual Celebrating Excellence award ceremony will be held at the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 14.

Awardees will be highlighted for their achievements in their designated categories. From 4-5:30 p.m., faculty and students will host an e-poster session with light refreshments. The award ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m.

College of Education Faculty Excellence Award, Dr. Patti Mortensen 

Dr. Mortensen came to ISU after a 30 year career in K-12 education and is completing her ninth year as a faculty member in the School Psychology and Educational Leadership Department (SPEL). Patti is a proud alumnus of Idaho State University where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in elementary education. She then attended Brigham Young University and completed a master’s in education administration (MEd). While working as an elementary principal, she returned to ISU and completed an education specialist degree (EdS). As a professor of practice, Patti works directly with graduate students seeking to become school and district leaders. She teaches courses in the master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral program in K-12 administration. Her specialty areas include school law, principal leadership, policy and governance, school personnel leadership, and school and community relations.

College of Education Staff Excellence Award, Mrs. Raylene Houck 

Ms. Raylene Houck is a native Idahoan from Lewiston, Idaho. She earned her bachelor of arts in English from Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC), and her Secondary Teaching Certificate in English from LCSC as well. She earned her master of arts degree in English Language and Learning from Western Governors University. She was a teacher for over 25 years in a variety of venues including public school (grades 7-12), tribal distance education with the Nez Perce Tribe, English as a Second Language (ESL) education with English Language Services, and ESL instruction here at Idaho State University (ISU). She has been working as an administrative assistant in the College of Education since 2017 where she happily supports students, staff, and faculty with their academic needs.  

College of Education Bengal Partner Award, Mrs. Brenda Miner

Brenda was raised in Jerome, Idaho prior to attending Idaho State University in the fall of 1987. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education in 1992 and a master of education in education administration degree in 2012 both from the College of Education.

Brenda began her professional education career at Tendoy Elementary School in Pocatello, where she was an integral part of their educational team for twenty years. She taught third grade, sixth grade, and also served as a lead teacher and reading interventionist. In addition to teaching, Brenda was the principal at Wilcox Elementary School for seven years prior to taking her current position in fall 2019 as the Human Resources Director for the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District. 

College of Education Alumni Leadership Excellence Award, Mr. Cody Cranor

Mr. Cody Cranor currently serves as the Associate Commissioner of Governance and Compliance for The Summit League, joining the League in June 2019. He oversees all matters related to League governance and NCAA compliance, and administrative sport oversight for men’s soccer and men’s and women’s tennis. Cody earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and sport management in 2008 and a master's degree in athletic administration in 2010 from ISU. While at ISU, Cody worked with the ISU men's basketball program as a manager, student assistant coach, and assistant video coordinator. He also served as a graduate teaching assistant in ISU's Human Performance and Sport Studies Department.

College of Education Young Alumnus Impact Award, Mr. Nathan Lammers

Mr. Nathan Lammers graduated from Idaho State University with a bachelor of science in elementary education. He has taught at schools in Pocatello and American Falls, and earned a master of science in education degree in 2015. He has taught fourth grade at American Falls Intermediate School from 2014 to 2019, and since 2019 has been the STEM teacher at JR Simplot Elementary in American Falls. 

College of Education Alumni Teaching Excellence Award, Mrs. Cynthia Lund

Mrs. Cynthia Lund is a Pocatello native and Highland High School 2004 graduate. She received her associate’s degree in culinary arts in 2010, a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 2012, and her master’s degree in education administration in 2022 from ISU. Soon after graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Cynthia accepted a position at Chubbuck Elementary School teaching fourth grade. Cynthia has worked on the English Language Arts Unit Development Team, where she helps create, refine, and improve the curriculum taught by fourth grade teachers throughout the district. For the last seven years, Cynthia has been one of three CAMP (Collaborating and Meeting Periodically) facilitators. In this position, she and her team facilitate monthly meetings with fourth grade teachers in the district and lead teachers in collaboration and discussion on many things such as best teaching practices, creating common assessments, and troubleshooting common curriculum and management issues in the classroom. As a fourth-grade teacher, Cynthia excels at developing strong, positive relationships with her students. 

College of Education Kole-McGuffey Award, Dr. J. Mark Browning

Dr. Mark Browning is a two-time ISU alumnus originally from Stevensville, Montana. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from ISU in 2008, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Idaho in 2012, and a doctorate in education degree in 2022. In 2021, he was chosen to be the 8th president of Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon where he oversees an institution that provides education in a service area of more than 16,500 square miles. Mark’s current research centers on dual credit in Idaho’s high schools and focuses on the student experience.

Please complete the RSVP form if you plan to attend. For questions about the Celebrating Excellence event, please contact Aubi Crabtree at aubicrabtree@isu.edu.


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