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We are excited to announce the winners of the second annual Pop Culture Educator of the Year Awards! All of these innovative educators have used pop culture to engage students, inspire a lifelong love of learning, encourage diversity, and increase literacy in their schools and local communities.

Also, thank you to everyone who nominated an educator this year. We were excited to hear about so many excellent educators using pop culture in their classrooms.  And without further ado, the winners are: 


Elementary Level AwardBrittany Paris

Brittany Paris teaches 1st-5th grade at Johnson Elementary School in Denver. Brittany has worked at Johnson Elementary School for the past two years as a Youth Enrichment Specialist. Brittany is a passionate advocate for restorative practices and inclusive classroom management techniques. Ms. Paris is an amazing teacher, who is wholeheartedly dedicated to the well-being and success of her students. She is a very talented lesson and curriculum developer who has fun and creative ideas for all the grades she teaches.


Middle Level Award—Jim McClain 

Jim McClain, from North Side Middle School, is the creator of the math graphic novel, Solution Squad! He saw a need in his own classroom and decided to create a solution for himself. Not only does his book inspire children to open up their imaginations when learning about math, it allows teachers to ignite their classrooms and inspire other educators. Especially since it is thought that comics are only usable for subjects in the humanities, Jim truly demonstrates innovation because he brought his passions into the classroom.   


High School Level Award—Matt Brady 

A STEM advocate and teacher of physics at Parkland High School, Matt Brady is always educating. He has spoken at NSTA, New York Comic Con, C2E2 and many other venues in order to talk about using comics and pop culture in STEM content areas. Not only has he had his students simulate the opening scene in Deadpool with action figures and moving vehicles to calculate falling rates and get timing but also uses Spider-Man and his webs on near-weekly basis. He also runs the website,, which blends pop culture and science for the community as well!  


Higher Education Level Award— Diane Sieber 

Dr. Diane Sieber educates Engineering students in the importance of the humanities, social sciences and philosophy in the pursuit of technological excellence. From hosting pop culture movie nights to providing a library of culturally-relevant and up-to-date books, she uses pop culture as the departure point for understanding the human condition and the pursuit of happiness and purpose. Her main academic teaching is dedicated to helping her students understand how to read their world—memes, xkcd and all—in the context of emerging technologies. She fully utilizes popular culture and media that students are immersed to help them learn to read their world better! 


Pop Culture Classroom

2760 W. 5th Ave.
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 325-1236
9am-5pm Monday-Friday


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