A dance and physical fitness teacher at a Southwest Side high school has been named as a finalist for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.
Melinda Wilson of Curie High School was selected as of one of the 50 finalists from more than 30,000 nominations for the award, which is handed out by the Varkey Foundation, a nonprofit “established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.”
In a statement announcing her as a finalist, the Varkey Foundation said: “She has made it her life’s work to help young people in Chicago Public Schools facing the greatest barriers achieve their aspirations.”
While at Curie, Wilson has choreographed 18 musicals and 20 dance concerts. Over the last 20 years, she has choreographed more than 50 pieces around the world.
“As director of a program where students from public schools can take dance, [Wilson] saw the cohort triple in size in a year, despite limited resources, where dancing with a hole in the floor, broken mirrors and puddles that appear when it rains are the norm,” according to the statement from Varkey.
The final 50 nominees for the award are from 33 different countries, according to Varkey. The top 10 finalists will be announced in February 2018, with the winner crowned a month later at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.