School of Education will honor community champion in the spring
The award is named for longtime UMKC and School of Education benefactor Hugh J. Zimmer, a noted business and civic leader and ardent supporter of urban education. The award will be presented to Berkley, chairman of Tension Corp., at the 2016 UMKC School of Education Urban Education and Community Forum on April 5.
An accomplished businessman and civic leader, Berkley has served as chair of both the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He has been a board member of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the Flexographic Technical Association and Turn the Page KC.
Berkley was the founder in 1992 of the Local Investment Commission (LINC), which is focused on investing in children and families. One of the first LINC programs was placing healthcare professionals, mental health specialists and social workers in Kansas City public schools to meet the needs of children and parents to serve the whole child. Today, that concept, known as Community Schools, is a major educational movement in the U.S., advocated by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, D.C. Berkley has served on the IEL Board since 1995.
From 2007 to 2015, Bert and his wife, Joan Berkley, made available through the UMKC School of Education an annual award for Kansas City area teachers who developed programs to make learning more enjoyable and more meaningful. These educators upgraded the level of teaching and learning and set an example for teachers in their schools, and in others.
Beginning in 2015, Bert made available to the School of Education, TeachLivE™, a program to allow graduate and undergraduate students to practice teaching before a simulated classroom.
Bert brought the Educational Policy Fellowship Program to UMKC. He is an immediate past member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; and is a former director of the National Council on Economic Education, serving as chairman from 1979-1980.
Berkley is a former Chairman of the UMKC Trustees, and later received the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest non-academic award UMKC offers to a volunteer. He graduated from Duke University and Harvard Business School. He served for 42 months in World War II, and an additional 17 months in Korea, and received the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. He vowed that if he got out of Korea alive he would give back, which he has been doing for more than 60 years.
“Bert Berkley has had a long and deep involvement in education, and his passion has been urban education. He understands that it is critical that young people in our urban centers receive an excellent education so they can be successful citizens. He also understands that the issues around students in urban settings are multi-faceted and complex,” said Zimmer Award selection committee chair Edward Underwood, Ph.D., Executive Director and Kauffman Endowed Chair of the Institute for Urban Education at the School of Education. “It is with great pride and gratitude that we will present him with the 2016 Hugh J. Zimmer Award.”