Kristin Danielson Fink, a faculty member at Utah State University in Logan, was chosen to receive the 2014 Sanford N. McDonnell award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education. The announcement was made by the Character Education Partnership organization.
Fink received the award, along with Sandra Day O’Connor, in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“No one has done more to advance the cause of character education in schools than Kristie Fink,” said Dr. Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro of Fordham University, who nominated her. “Widely admired for her dedication, leadership and caring heart, she also embodies the ideas of Sanford N. McDonnell, for whom this national lifetime achievement award is named.”
She described Fink as “an influential advocate of quality character education, a tireless and effective contributor to both practice and policy, and a mentor to thousands who have become character education teachers, leaders, researchers and policymakers.”
Kristie Fink, who has been a teacher, librarian and secondary language arts/literacy specialist, implemented and led student character development strategies at every school assigned.
“She has had major impact helping educators across the country integrate character education into their daily practice,” said Becky Sipos, interim president and CEO of CEP. “Even if it was not a subject Kristie had ever taught, she either personally developed or found resources to show how character education strategies could be connected. She is an effective national voice in gaining support for character education and is a respected source by elected officials and their staffs who seek guidance.”
Fink has held state leadership positions with the Utah Coalition for Civic, Character and Service Learning, and was Character Education Specialist for the Utah State Office of Education. Nationally, she served as executive director of Community of Caring in Washington, D.C., a program of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. She has led professional development workshops in more than 30 states and in Canada.
She received her award at the 2014 National Forum on Character Education in October, an event attended by education and community leaders from 45 states and 20 countries. As a member of the USU faculty, she now teaches and integrates character education into the curriculum for graduate and undergraduate courses, as well as teaching a graduate course on character and values education.