The award is presented annually to an "individual, group, or organization that has made a sustained contribution to educational research or evaluation in the Commonwealth of Virginia or the nation," according to VERA. The award is named for a prominent Virginia educator who contributed to the association's early development.
"Quite honestly, I remain simultaneously surprised, thrilled, and honored to be receiving this award," said Gareis. "It is especially meaningful to me because, although I am not a native Virginian, I have spent my entire career in the Commonwealth and I have long considered it my home. Therefore, it is incredibly affirming to have my work in and contributions to Virginia recognized by my peers."
Gareis will receive the award at the annual meeting of VERA, which will be held Sept. 17-18 in Charlottesville, Va. He will receive a plaque and give a presentation on his current research, which focuses on "developing teachers' abilities to use classroom-based assessment to improve student learning," he said. His work in this area, which was conducted with his colleague Leslie Grant ('06), resulted in their 2008 book "Teacher-made Assessments: How to Connect Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Learning."
A graduate of Washington and Lee University, Gareis is a licensed professional teacher in Virginia. He has taught middle and high school students in public and private schools, and he has served as a middle school assistant principal and principal. Gareis began working at William & Mary in 2001 as the School of Education's associate dean for professional services, and he is also an associate professor of educational leadership. He teaches courses in curriculum development and evaluation, instructional leadership, and classroom-based assessment at the doctoral, master's, and baccalaureate levels.
Gareis' research interests include instructional leadership, teacher mentoring, teacher evaluation, teacher compensation, and classroom-based assessment. He has written journal articles, a book chapter, and numerous presentations, and he has co-authored books on teacher portfolios and teacher compensation.
Gareis said that he is particularly thrilled about the Charles Clear Research Award because it is being presented to him by an education research association.
"In an applied field such as education, research is sometimes seen as being disconnected from the workaday life of teachers and leaders in K-12 schools," he said. "As both a professor and as a former secondary school teacher, I have always been keenly aware of this tension. Indeed, I would characterize a considerable amount of my career-long work as an attempt to translate research into practice for teachers and educational leaders in the field. To be recognized by a group of people that I consider to be extraordinary researchers for my role in bringing research to bear on practice is extraordinarily gratifying."