2014 Sustained Excellence in Teacher Education
For more than 25 years, Dr. Lexie Grudnoff has been a strongly committed and deeply engaged teacher educator, a leader of teacher education practice and policy at the national level in New Zealand, and the driving force behind many innovations in teacher education curriculum, partnerships with schools, and collaborative research and practice projects.
Her leadership capacity, drive and enthusiasm to innovate and improve are exceptional as is the overall contribution she has made to teacher education over many years at the Auckland College of Education, the University of Auckland, and at the national level in leadership roles for TEFANZ, the New Zealand Teachers Council, and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research. She is respected for her exemplary teaching skills as well as her strong commitment to improving the education of new teachers. Her efforts to enhance the learning and improve the life chances of priority learners in New Zealand who have historically not been well served by the system have been long-standing. A hallmark of Lexie’s career has been a strong and enduring service ethic. Without a doubt her leadership and scholarship have helped to chart the course of teacher education in New Zealand, and her international connections and research partnerships are contributing to the improvement of teacher education internationally.
Lexie has conducted significant research related to initial teacher education, teacher learning, and mentoring/induction for new teachers and has been part of national and international collaborative research groups. Project RITE (Rethinking Initial Teacher Education for Equity), an international research collaboration co-led by Lexie and Professor Marilyn Cochrane Smith (Boston College) is an exciting programme of empirical research designed within a carefully selected and articulated theoretical framework that accounts for causality as well as complexity in learning to teach. The project team’s work, disseminated nationally and internationally, has been well received by those committed to teacher education for equity and social justice. Such work is making a significant impact in regard to how teacher education candidates can be prepared to challenge inequities by enacting practices that promote marginalized students’ academic, social, emotional, civic and critical learning.
In the area of school partnership Lexie has been an outstanding collaborator and innovator. She has been ahead of the field in the depth and quality of partnerships she has established. She has been instrumental in changing the relationship with schools to one of greater equality where the voice and experience of practitioners works alongside the knowledge and experience of teacher educators. This has not only led to much more satisfying placements for students where schools understand and relish their more involved role and responsibilities, but also to much enhanced relationships with teachers and principals and a greater sense of mutual trust. The collegial nature of the partnerships that Lexie has created, expanded and sustained with schools and early childhood centres is an outstanding testament to her work and leadership.
To conclude, Lexie’s unwavering commitment to teacher education, locally, nationally and internationally and the scope and impact of her teaching and research work make her an ideal and worthy recipient of the award “Sustained Excellence in Teacher Education”.