Alumnus Daniel Foerg-Spittel Honored With Princeton Universi... | Teachers College Columbia University

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Alumnus Daniel Foerg-Spittel Honored With Princeton University Prize

Daniel Foerg-Spittel (M.A. Curriculum and Teaching, 1996) was honored by Princeton University at its 2014 Commencement on June 3. Foerg-Spittel, a 27-year veteran teacher in the Tenafly, NJ school system, was among four New Jersey teachers selected to receive the Distinguished Secondary School Teaching Award. Eighty teachers were nominated from public and private schools around the state.

Each teacher will receive $5,000, as well as $3,000 for his or her school library. Princeton has honored New Jersey school teachers since 1959 with awards funded by an anonymous gift from an alumnus.

Foerg-Spittel has taught language-arts at Tenafly Middle School for 18 years. He is the adviser of Limelight, the school literary magazine, and serves on the School Climate Leadership Committee, which is designed to improve leadership at all levels within the school.

"Though it is true that young teens will need to be able to read, write, speak and listen well to ensure future success in high school, college and beyond, they need to sharpen those skills now because they have ideas and concerns and beliefs now. They have voices that must be heard now," Foerg-Spittel wrote in a personal statement.

Foerg-Spittel created the I-Search Project, in which his students choose a topic that interests them and then conduct research, interview experts, create an outline, write a bibliography and present their work at a conference-style poster session. Topics have included prehistoric sharks, cardiac surgery and how to succeed on the television show “Survivor.” 

In a letter supporting Foerg-Spittel’s nomination, student Jacqueline Dragon wrote that herproject on the importance of sleep and the effects of sleep deprivation spurred her interest in going to medical school.

"When Mr. Foerg-Spittel allowed me to explore the topic that interested me, he allowed me to discover my passion for science," Dragon wrote in a letter supporting Foerg-Spittel's nomination.

Published Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2014