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Each of the following individuals is well known for his or her considerable contributions to the field of middle level education. For this series of podcasts, the question was asked: What do you see as significant lessons from the past that today’s middle level leaders must not forget as we move into the future?

Gayle (Davis) Andrews is an Associate Professor at the University of Georgia where she coordinates the Middle School Education Program. She is a well-known researcher in the field of middle level education and along with Tony Jackson, co-authored Turning Points 2000 – Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century.

Don and Sally Clark were contributing authors to Breaking Ranks in the Middle © (NASSP, 2006) and recently published Leadership that Makes a Difference: Revitalizing Middle Schools (NMSA, 2008). Both are professors emeritus at the University of Arizona; Don is a recipient of NASSP’s Gruhn-Long-Melton Award.

Nancy Doda is a workshop leader, author, researcher and keynote speaker and is considered to be one of the top middle level experts in the country. She has worked with hundreds of schools and districts all over the world focusing on developing powerful education for young adolescents, transforming schools cultures and cultivating learning communities. She is also a Lounsbury Award winner.

Paul George is a well-respected scholar, one of the nation's leading authorities on middle level education, and a Lounsbury Award winner. As a researcher, consultant, and teacher, he has, for many years, been actively involved in the search for effective middle school practices. He, along with the late William Alexander, co-authored The Exemplary Middle School.

John Lounsbury is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the middle school movement and has spent his extensive career working to improve the education and overall welfare of young adolescents. He is the Dean Emeritus at Georgia College and State University; their John Lounsbury School of Education was named after him. He is a recipient of NASSP’s Gruhn-Long-Melton Award for excellence in middle level leadership and NMSA’s prestigious Lounsbury Award was named for him.

Ken McEwin is a member of NASSP’s Middle Level Task Force and a professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Ken has done extensive work in supporting middle level education through the years. His research topics include middle level teacher preparation, sports in the middle, effective middle level practices, K-8 schools, and many more. In 1989 his work was recognized with a Lounsbury Award.

Hayes Mizell directed the Program for Student Achievement of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation at a time when the foundation focused its philanthropy on middle grades reform. He is one of the founders of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the National Staff Development Council. Shooting for the Sun: The Message of Middle School Reform is a collection of his insights into the work of improving middle level education.

Sue Swaim was the executive director of the National Middle School Association from 1993 to 2007. Prior to working for NMSA, she was a middle level teacher and principal in Colorado. Sue continues to consult for school districts as well as serving as a workshop presenter or keynote speaker at both national and international middle level conferences. She received the Lounsbury Award in 2007.