Distinguished Education Alumni Award

Recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of our alumni.

The College of Education presents the Distinguished Education Alumni Award (DEAA) in recognition of the notable professional achievements of our alumni. The DEAA is the highest award for alumni and honors their notable career and life achievements that reflect favorably on Purdue University, education, or society in general. Awarded biennially, the DEAA will be presented in Fall 2023 at the Education Appreciation and Alumni Awards event. The award is not meant to be restrictive in its criteria, but rather inclusive of all of the various life paths our alumni may take.

2021 Distinguished Education Alumni Award Recipients (show/hide)

Eliel Gonzalez Headshot

Mr. Eliel Gonzalez, Teacher, East Longmeadow High School

  • 89’ BS, Mathematics, Purdue University
  • 90’ MEd, Secondary Mathematics, University of Massachusetts

Eliel Gonzalez has served as a mathematics educator in the East Longmeadow (Massachusetts) Public Schools for over three decades. His primary duties include teaching AP Calculus, Honors Calculus, Pre-Calculus. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Purdue University (1989) and a Master in Education (1990) from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a Math Counts and/or HS Math League every year of his career. In addition to his full-time teaching, Gonzalez has served the College Board as K-12 Professional Development Project Manager in Mathematics, AP Annual Conference Steering Committee Member, and National Leader. As an endorsed College Board consultant, Gonzalez has conducted numerous AP Calculus, Pre-AP Math and SAT workshops and summer institutes in the United States and abroad, as well as trained new math consultants. When not working in the math education field, Gonzalez enjoys traveling, going to beach, spending quality time with his friends, dining out, and following Purdue sports.

Dr. Judi Hendrix Headshot

Dr. Judi Hendrix, Executive Director, Wabash Valley Education Center

  • 86’ BA, Elementary Education, Purdue University
  • 91’ MS, Educational Psychology, Purdue University
  • 93’ MS, Certificate in School Administration, Butler University
  • 00’ Ph.D., Educational Leadership, Indiana State University

“Education has been my life! I have truly loved attending school and leading a school. As a matter of fact, I have had 52 spring breaks, 52 beginnings of a new school year, and participated in or attended 46 Christmas Programs. My journey has been remarkable! I had the honor to graduate from Western Boone Schools in Thorntown, Indiana and then give back to this great district as the Superintendent. I earned my BA in Elementary Education in 1986 and MS in Educational Psychology in 1991, both from Purdue University. I then earned a graduate certificate in School Administration from Butler University in 1993, and a PhD in Educational Leadership from Indiana State University. I have been blessed to spend my career serving students and educators. I began my career as a kindergarten teacher in Crawfordsville, Indiana. I then ‘came home’ to Western Boone Schools where I was a gifted and talented teacher for elementary students, an assistant principal, the Director of Curriculum, Assistant Superintendent and then I served as the Superintendent. I then followed my passion for presenting workshops and serve in my current role as the Executive Director of Wabash Valley Education Center in West Lafayette, Indiana. I have been blessed in my educational journey from Purdue University!”

Dr. Jennifer McCormick Headshot

Dr. Jennifer McCormick, CEO, Fierce Up! Leadership

  • 93′ BA, Elementary Education, Purdue University
  • 99′ MA, Special Education, Ball State University
  • 04′ Licensure in Educational Leadership and Administration, Ball State University
  • 08′ Licensure as School Superintendent, Indiana State University
  • 08′ Ed.S., Educational Leadership, Indiana State University
  • 11′ PhD, Educational Leadership, Indiana State University

Dr. Jennifer McCormick has over 25 years of experience in education as a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Jennifer led as the superintendent of Yorktown Community Schools for seven years prior to serving as Indiana’s 44th State Superintendent of Public Instruction. After her four year term, she went on to be named the Sr. VP of Equitable Education Solutions- Analytics, Chairman of the Board for Gibraltar Design, and is the CEO of Fierce Up! Leadership, which provide her further opportunity to partner with schools. She has served on numerous boards throughout her professional tenure and currently is on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Coalition for Public Education and Valley Oaks Health. Dr. McCormick also continues to proudly provide a voice for student, educators, and communities through multiple speaking engagements. Jennifer is married to Trent, a public school administrator and is a proud military mother of Cael. Her message is simple: Kids First. Always.

Jennifer grew up on a farm in rural Henry County and is the proud daughter of a two very hard working parents. Both were dedicated to community service and were fierce believers in public service and education. After a great K-12 experience in New Castle Community Schools, Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue. She then proudly started her career serving over two decades as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. In the spirit of service to kids, Jennifer decided to run for state-wide office and was elected as Indiana’s 44th and last elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. After her four year term, she went on to be named the Sr. VP of Equitable Education Solutions- Analytics and is the CEO of Fierce Up! Leadership.

Dr. Leah Wasburn-Moses Headshot

Dr. Leah Wasburn-Moses, Professor, Educational Psychology, Miami University

  • 97’ BA, Political Science, Purdue University
  • 97’ BA, Special Education, Purdue University
  • 99’ MSED, Special Education, Purdue University
  • 05’ Ph.D., Special Education, Michigan State University

Leah Wasburn-Moses is a professor of Educational Psychology at Miami University. Formerly a teacher at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana, Wasburn-Moses earned bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Special Education in 1997 and an MSED in Special Education in 1999, all from Purdue University, and a PhD in Special Education from Michigan State University in 2005. Wasburn-Moses is Founder and Director of Campus Mentors, a national award-winning one-room alternative school for at-risk youth that provides hundreds of field placements for future teachers. She is currently working on expanding her Campus Mentors model to additional university communities. Wasburn-Moses is the author of multiple books and articles on innovation in teacher education, including a recent book on Student Teaching, published in 2020 by Lexington. She is also a foster parent and plans to open a group home for foster youth in the future.

2019 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2017 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2015 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2013 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2011 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2009 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2007 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)

2006 – 1991 Distinguished Education Alumni Awards (show/hide)