Teacher of Grade Two Julie Kourkoulis Wins Distinguished Tea...
The Distinguished Teaching Endowment was created in 1983 as a tribute to Clarence Bruner-Smith, Dudley M. Maxim ’32, and Frank G. Smith. In 1988, the Alumni Association decided to establish an annual award to a teacher who has taught at Trinity for ten years or more, exemplifies the history and traditions of the School, and who has demonstrated excellence in teaching. The prize, now known as the Greenberg Family-Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Prize, was increased to $10,000 in 2004.
Since its inception, thirty-one teachers have received this honor, their names displayed prominently on the Greenberg Family-Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Prize Plaque in the Great Hall. The 2018 award was given to Julie Kourkoulis. Julie started at Trinity as an assistant kindergarten teacher in 1992, before becoming a head teacher in 1994. Since then she has taught Kindergarten and Grades Two and Four. During her time at Trinity, Julie has served as Lower School director of multicultural affairs (2001-2002), Lower School multicultural coordinator (2004-2008), and Lower School curriculum coordinator (2012-present). Julie was the first Lower School teacher who utilized Understanding by Design curricular pedagogy and introduced it to the Lower School administration. She is recipient of a 1998 Faculty Summer Development Project Grant, a 2009 Summer Curricular and Pedagogical Fellowship, and a 2015 Lower School-Middle School Faculty Enrichment Award. “A respected colleague who is always ready to lend a helping hand,” “a professional of the highest quality,” and “a great role model for students,” colleagues also describe Julie as someone with “unquestionable integrity” and who “often goes beyond what is expected.” Lower School Principal Rosemary Milliman says: “Julie is a lifelong learner who continues to challenge herself as an educator. There are a few individuals who have been as motivated as Julie has been to challenge herself by teaching new grades. She truly understands the Lower School students that she teaches and the arch of their learning Kindergarten through Grade Four. Parents often comment on her deep understanding of the more nuanced aspects of their children’s personalities and learning profiles.”
President of the Trinity School Alumni Association James S. Panero ’94 said the following, in presenting the award to Julie, “'Voice' has been the theme of Chapel this year. This year’s winner is therefore a special one. Through a remarkable ability to convey the joys of speaking, the joys of writing, and the joys of revision, this lifelong Trinity teacher leads students to recognize that everyone, at every age, has a wondrous story to tell. Even, and especially, our second graders."