The ED Green Team, including Strategic Communications Manager Jeanne Ackerson, Web Content Manager Malissa Coleman, Social Media Manager Kyle Flood, Creative Design Manager Cory Leitao, Newsletter Editor Brendan Loughran, Publications Manager Jennifer Padgett, Senior Advisor Adam Honeysett, Director Andrea Falken and several others, will receive the Secretary of Education’s Teamwork Award at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 7 at the U.S. Department of Education headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Secretary’s Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of Department of Education employees.
In 2011, when the Department launched ED-GRS, the initiative was without funding or staff. “The ED Green Team is being acknowledged because each member has offered to do more, not for greater compensation, but because they understood the initiative was meaningful to the communities ED serves, and saw an opportunity to bolster the work of a colleague with a vision,” said Director Andrea Falken. “And I couldn’t be prouder of our team!”
Just as state education agency teams select nominees with partners from various state agencies and nonprofit organizations; federal review and ceremony efforts include participation from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, Forest Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others; and green teams at school and district honorees come from across departments; the cross-office ED Green Team is made up of individuals from around ED with ongoing roles, all vital to the functioning of this initiative.
As a result of their participation, ED has added district and postsecondary categories to the original Pre-K-12 school award, a Green Strides outreach component that focuses on disseminating free resources and webinars to all schools through a newsletter and social media, both of which have become high-quality resources. ED Green Team members’ participation have also enabled ED to institute an annual best practices tour and engage in more facilities, health and environment outreach and engagement.
This is, notably, the SIXTH award earned for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) in its three years. Before the Secretary’s Teamwork Award, the initiative received two “Best of” awards from the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council, in 2011 and 2012. ED-GRS was honored with the Communications and Education award from the Center for Innovation and Environmental Leadership in 2011. Its director, Andrea Falken, became the first recipient of the Secretary’s Golden Apple Award, issued to an ED employee whose service is distinguished by an achievement of local, state, national, or international significance, in 2012. Last week, Green Schools named Andrea a 2014 Green Difference Awardee, for “outstanding commitment to Greenovation [GREEN + STEM + Innovation].”
You may already know Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and Facilities, Health and Environment Liaison, Andrea Falken. Take a moment to meet some of the other members of the ED Green Team:
Jeanne Ackerson, working from ED’s Kansas City office, is the Strategic Communications Manager. Jeanne has reinvigorated the way the team communicates with federal agencies, nonprofit stakeholder groups, and state education agencies in the areas of facilities, health and environmental education. Jeanne is the front-line resource to state colleagues, receiving their nominations and inquiries and sending ED technical assistance communications. She also is the first point of contact for honorees, and is spearheading this year’s ceremony registration.
Malissa Coleman, based in ED’s Atlanta office, is Web Content Manager, overseeing updates to the Green Ribbon and Green Strides pages and serving as a liaison to dozens of federal and nonprofit partners to update their Green Strides Webinar Series listings on these pages.
Kyle Flood, in the Office of the General Counsel, has, since early 2012, served as Social Media Manager. During this time, Kyle has expanded ED’s Facebook and Twitter engagement with creative and effective outreach, amplifying the Green Strides Webinar Series, annual Best Practices Tour, announcement of honorees, and ceremony, among other events. Other federal agencies and dozens of nonprofit partners depend on Kyle’s work to communicate their resources for schools. Kyle is a three-time nomination reviewer; chief Green Team in-house blogger; and pitches in with just about anything that requires sharp writing and editing and passion for matters at the intersection of environment, health and education.
Cory Leitao, in the Office of the Secretary, is ED Green Team Creative Design Manager. Cory devised a catchy wind turbine - schoolhouse motif, which appears on the ED-GRS letterhead, report, postcard, presentations, and other products. Cory's willingness to lend a hand with, and knack for, technology means that he also manages the multi-agency federal review in an online system called OMB MAX. Cory is the keeper of the Green Team library of images, and the Green Strides newsletter has been transformed under Cory's creative talents. Cory's positive attitude, innate curiosity to try new things, and eye for design are invaluable.
Brendan Loughran, also in the Office of the Secretary, is an invaluable Newsletter Editor. He compiles and edits the Green Strides newsletter and is also skilled in design and layout. Other agencies and dozens of nonprofit partners depend on Brendan’s newsletter to communicate their resources for schools. He has a key role as resident geographer for the annual Best Practices Tour, allowing ED to devise routes based on honorees’ locations.
Jennifer Padgett, in internal communications, has the distinction of being one of the earliest members of the ED Green Team, setting the trend of volunteering from across ED. Seeing Andrea struggling in early 2012, she extended an irresistible offer of, “What can I do to help?” Since then, ED has put Jennifer’s editing talents to work as team Publications Manager. Each year she oversees the drafting of a massive report highlighting the accomplishments of scores of honorees over the course of just a few weeks. Jennifer also drafts and publishes a ceremony program, and manages the printing and release of postcards throughout the year.
Adam Honeysett is ED Green Team Senior Advisor. Adam supports the team’s new ideas with unparalleled good counsel. He goes out of his way to help ED green projects, such as the annual Best Practices Tour, come to fruition. Adam is a born leader and a supervisory role model to the director as she leads the ED Green Team.
Other ED Green Team members have played a seasonal or past role. Diana Huffman compiles and organizes applicant information essential to the announcement and ceremony registration. Nicole White maintains the Green Strides resources page. Kathrina Bridges provides invaluable Best Practices Tour logistical support. Loveen Bains, Meredith Bajgier, De’Rell Bonner, Linda Pauley, Joe Barison, Julie Ewart, Patrick Kerr, Mark Sharoff and Elaine Venard have helped with the review, Highlights Report, and other projects over the years. Monica Bates’ oversaw contact with honorees and ceremony registration during the first two cycles.
Now that you know a little bit about the ED Green Team, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us what makes your green team shine!