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9 October, 2011 Nomination letter for Louise A. Audette I have known Ms. Audette since 1998, when she first attended a workshop I was offering on the University of Connecticut campus. The workshop, called the da Vinci Project, is a one-week summer residential program offered to middle and high school math, science and technology teachers. It is designed to give teachers a real-world experience working with engineering faculty and staff in research laboratories, and to foster understanding of engineering core concepts. It is expected that the participants will work to infuse engineering into their curriculum, and to share their knowledge of engineering with their peers. Ms. Audette quickly established herself as a leader within the group and became a strong proponent of integrating math (her subject area) with other areas of science and technology to achieve a greater understanding of engineering. I kept in touch with Ms. Audette over the following year, visiting her classroom to provide support to her math/engineering curriculum. She repeated her attendance at the da Vinci workshop in the summer of 2000 and once again distinguished herself with her enthusiasm for and commitment to engineering. We became friends as well as colleagues, and I continued to work with her in developing curriculum for her calculus classes. In 2001, I received a grant from the NSF under the GK-12 Teaching Fellows program to introduce engineering to a number of high school classrooms in the central Connecticut area. The GK-12 program provides engineering graduate students to high schools to act as resources and mentors to demonstrate engineering in the classroom. The program also invited cooperating teachers to work with the graduate fellows. Based on my past experiences with Ms. Audette, I did not hesitate to offer her a position as a cooperating teacher. This program will continue through May 2006, and during that time, I continued to work with Ms. Audette in matters related to engineering education at the K-12 level, both locally as well as nationally. Character Ms. Audettes’ character is of the highest caliber, both in her professional and personal life. She is a teacher who is absolutely committed to her students, both in and out of the classroom. She is always concerned that her students receive the highest quality of instruction possible, and that the instruction is relevant to the students’ life. She strives to ensure that her students succeed academically and personally and she takes it to heart when they do, and when they don’t. She remarked to me once not long ago that the highest praise she can ever receive is to have a student return years after graduation and thank her for being the kind of teacher she is. She, of course, wants to be the best teacher possible and actively seeks out professional development. She continuously thinks of ways to improve her craft while keeping the subject area relevant and interesting. As mentioned previously, Ms. Audette is also concerned for her students both in and beyond the classroom. She is usually the first teacher in school in the morning, and the last to leave at night. This is, in part, so that she is available to help students before and after school. In addition, she is active in many extracurricular activities including class advisor, JETS, and National Honor Society. She often arranges for students to attend events offcampus, including a math competition at Worcester Polytech and various distinguished lecture series at local universities. She is always going the extra yard for her students. She is also concerned to foster and support an atmosphere of professionalism among her colleagues. As a department head and curriculum specialist, she constantly shared with her peers tips for classroom activities and opportunities to interact with one another. She encourages her staff towards personal growth and is active at the administrative level in school accreditation and curriculum revision. She is very active professionally, attending numerous local, national and international conferences, presenting papers on occasion. She is very active in the K-12 and Pre-college Outreach division of the American Society for Engineering Education and has served as an officer for two years. Abilities Ms. Audettes abilities are reflected in her character, and her character goes hand-in-hand with her abilities. One of her attributes that stand out in my mind is her leadership. I have been fortunate to attend two awards ceremonies


honoring Ms. Audette. The first was to recognize her for being chosen the Somers Teacher of the Year, and the second was to acknowledge her receipt of the PAEMST in Washington. Ms. Audette used both opportunities to emphasize that education and teaching is a team effort and many people can take credit for the successes of students. She used the occasions to inspire not only her colleagues, but also her students to set higher standards for themselves. Those same leadership principles apply to her work with her fellow teachers at school. As already described, she works hard to set an example for professional growth by both encouraging her colleagues and by seeking out resources that can be used in the classroom. Her attendance at the International Council for Teachers of Mathematics is evidence of that. Another ability I have observed is her knack for taking very tough subject matter and making it understandable to her students. She does this by using real world examples, stories, props mind puzzlers, games, movies, multiple assessments-think of any of the buzzwords currently favored in the education lexicon and Ms. Audette thought about it years ago. She is anything but a “chalk and talk” teacher. I recall seeing her present a paper to colleagues at a regional ASEE meeting, and she was the only presenter who really “engaged” her audience by actually walking the aisles instead of standing behind the podium. She was entertaining, funny, interesting-she was a “teacher” in every good sense of the word. Every person in the room was hanging on her words, and she received the most applause of anyone in the session. She knows the role of entertainment as a tool in engaging an audience. She knows how to make math fun. One way in which she engages her students is by maintaining a library in her classroom, including books of puzzlers, brain teasers, giants in math, and Einstein and Amelia Earhart, her two personal heroes. She is always providing examples of real world applications of the math she teaches. As an example, she teaches calculus without equations by providing distance/acceleration/velocity graphs of an elevator to students and asking them to describe what is happening at various points in time. In another example, she leads them in the derivation of the Fibonacci sequence, and then shows examples found in nature. I believe her inquisitiveness is another asset Ms. Audette has. She never ceases to want to know why, how, what can I do to make it work better? She is constantly forwarding me emails from various sources-“Did you see this? Can we make this work? Can we adapt this to the classroom?” This aspect of her personality is infectious. I have worked with Ms. Audette as a judge at several local “Invention Conventions” and she really has a knack for drawing the young inventors out when engaging them in the judging circle, asking how they got their idea, what alternatives did they think of, how did they test it, how did they try to improve it. Robert F. Vieth STEM Education Specialist JEDC/SpringBoard 907-523-2342




Recommendation: Louise Audette 2. January 2010 I met Louise Audette more than three years ago as a colleague at the American Overseas School of Rome, and shortly after that, she expressed a desire to volunteer to teach English at the ICBIE, a school for impoverished favela children in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil that I helped to found. Deeply impressed with her altruism and courage, I enjoyed mentoring her in preparation for her trip to Brazil and successively monitoring her work there during the summer of 2007. During this demanding and challenging experience, I was able to witness her extraordinary strengths, both as a caring and sensitive teacher and as a wonderfully generous human being. Despite the fact that she was working outside of her usual discipline, Louise assiduously prepared her English lessons, creating stimulating coursework, full of high-spirited and multifarious educational strategies that were perfectly suited to the needs of her students, who ranged from fourteen to forty years of age. I remember asking her how she managed to gather so many great didactic techniques, and she simply replied, “When you’re a math teacher, you have to master every trick in the book in order to keep your lessons lively!” Beyond her superb nuts-and-bolts teaching prowess, Louise is truly interested in her students, with a compassion that draws them out, building trust and self-assurance while inspiring them to do their very best. Furthermore, even though she had a very limited command of the Portuguese language (and her students had only the slightest comprehension of English), she always managed to communicate clearly, and without showing the slightest frustration, conveying instead all of her limitless cordiality and warmth. But this was not a conventional teaching experience: Louise was immersed in the harsh realities of the Brazilian favelas, living in a small hostel contained within the Institute, and her free time was often spent in the company of her students, together with other volunteers, where she was able to understand the real issues of poverty and exclusion that afflicted these children. With her sincere empathy and an unshakable optimism, she galvanized the entire community, making an impact upon her students that they vividly remember, even today, with joy and gratitude. The inner strength and fortitude of this gentle lady worked wonders for everyone, and she is sorely missed. Louise Audette comes as close to my definition of an ideal teacher as anyone I have ever met. Her patience and reserve, her natural sense of harmonious teamwork and her tender concern for humanity make her truly exceptional.

Roy Zimmerman Honorary President Institute of Culture Brazil Italy Europe

Rua Porto dos Tainheiros, 36, Ribeira, Salvador – Bahia, Brasil Cep.: 40421580 Tel.: 71 32077717 e-mail:



Rua Porto dos Tainheiros, 36, Ribeira, Salvador – Bahia, Brasil Cep.: 40421580 Tel.: 71 32077717 e-mail:

From: Pier Giorgio Russo <> Date: Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 11:37 AM Subject: To: Hello Mrs. Audette,

Hope all is well and summer is carrying along nicely. I wanted to Thank you for the past thre years of learning in your classes, but also for making me understand what the immense beauty and charm of the math realm, which surrounds us daily in all the processes of the world.  

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