Mount Notre Dame is proud to announce that Social Studies teacher Mr. Bennett VanOudenallen has been named the recipient of the prestigious GRAMMY Museum’s 2021 Jane Ortner Education Award.
The Jane Ortner Education Award celebrates K-12 educators who integrate music into virtually all aspects of the classroom experience — not only academic subjects that include English, social studies, math, science and foreign language instruction, but also fosters creativity, self-confidence and the critically important social skills of cooperation and respect. Applicants submit one original unit of lessons that incorporates music, which is then reviewed by a panel of teachers and education administrators and evaluated for creativity, teachability, transferability, and level of student engagement.
VanOudenallen’s submission for the award was a reflection on cultural diffusion and race in America. “I am honored to receive the GRAMMY Museum’s Jane Ortner Education Award,” said VanOudenallen. “I love guiding students through the deconstruction of music’s, specifically my personal passion – the banjo’s – current stereotypes in order to build a deeper understanding of all the complex and blended elements that lead us to the depth of variety that music offers today. The Jane Ortner Award is a meaningful acknowledgment and true celebration of the importance of music to education and our shared history.”
MND Principal Mrs. Karen Day notes, “Bennett VanOudenallen exemplifies how our expert faculty equip students for life. Bennett’s lessons are creatively designed and extraordinarily delivered – hooks that keep our students critically thinking about content knowledge, discussing their insights at the dinner table and leading as empowered women who transform our world. We are grateful to have Bennett on the MND team where students and faculty benefit from his expertise.”
VanOudenallen majored in management at Miami University (Ohio). He taught as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in rural Massachusetts, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, and a National Park Service Volunteer in Arizona before obtaining a Master’s degree in Educational Design from Plymouth State University. He has been teaching Social Studies courses at MND for the past 13 years. VanOudenallen is also the Academic Team Coach, Province Leader, and member of the Professional Development team. He resides in Kenwood with his wife and two young daughters. In his free time, he enjoys playing the banjo in the family band.