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Linda Mah
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Duncan Named Regional Teacher of the Year

Doug Duncan Teaches Art at Indian Prairie, Prairie Ridge

Doug Duncan, art teacher at Indian Prairie and Prairie Ridge Elementary Schools, has been named the 2019-20 Region 7 Teacher of the Year, which puts him in the running for the Michigan Teacher of the Year.

Duncan has taught in Kalamazoo Public Schools for 18 years. He worked as a computer graphic artist for 15 years before moving into teaching. He holds a B.A. in art from Adrian College and a M.A. in elementary education from Aquinas College. He has been a mentor teacher for 12 years. He coordinates the annual Empty Bowls program at Prairie Ridge to raise awareness of food insecurity and to provide funds to help fight hunger in his school and in the community.

As a teacher, he wants to provide his students with a space to flourish.

“I hope to teach all of my students to understand that there is more than one answer to a question and more than one solution to a problem,” Duncan said. “In an era where more testing is being mandated, it is essential that we keep the arts available to students not only as a critical creative outlet but as a way to foster creative thinking.”

The future job market will need employees who are flexible, ingenious problem solvers, he said.

“High-stakes testing currently leaves very little time in regular classrooms for creative thinking or for constructing knowledge. Art is one subject area where self-expression and creativity are still valued, and I want to make sure that every student I teach understands the importance of both.”

Duncan was nominated for the honor by KPS art coordinator Mandy Clearwaters. More than 400 teachers from across the state were nominated for 10 regional awards. All are now finalists for the Michigan Teacher of the Year award.

“I am thrilled by this honor and feel ready to be an advocate for the teachers of my region,” Duncan said.


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