Stephen Cregger is one of several local public school teachers in the region to win one of the prestigious McGlothlin Foundation for Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Classroom teachers may be nominated or nominate themselves by submitting the entry form found at BlueRidgePBS.org/educate/mcglothlin-awards-for-teaching-excellence. After making it through round one, semifinalists submit a lesson plan and video of themselves teaching that lesson to students. Judges then observe six finalistsâ€™ classrooms and conduct interviews.
Entrants must be from 41 localities in Southwest Virginia, two southern West Virginia counties, five eastern Kentucky localities and five Northeast Tennessee localities.
The first McGlothlin Excellence in Teaching awards were presented in 2000. Each year the McGlothlin Foundation awards $25,000 each to two public school teachers: one who teaches kindergarden through fifth grade and one who teaches middle/high school.
This award is intended to recognize innovative full-time classroom teachers with at least five years of experience from core curriculum areas, foreign language, special education, STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math), art and music, who have not previously won major awards in education.
A requirement of the awards is that $10,000 is to be used, within a year, for international travel to broaden the thinking and experience of the winning teachers, further enhancing their excellence as professional educators.
â€œThe McGlothlin Foundationâ€™s goal is for the awards to inspire recipients, their students, their peers and indeed, their entire school. It is our intent to find the best teachers in todayâ€™s classrooms around our region. We want to recognize their fine work, reward them for it and by so doing inspire others to the high qualities they exemplify. Certainly, this award will recognize, in a rather significant way, what we consider one of the most important professions and one with so many unsung heroes,â€ says Thomas McGlothlin, president of the McGlothlin Foundation.
Steven Cregger who teaches art at High Point Elementary School, Bristol, Virginia, used his 2014 award to travel to Italy, France, Switzerland and England.
â€œIâ€™ve never been huge on teaching classical art, and Europe is where classical art was born. That trip helped me when I did the murals in here. It helped me make classical art fun for them. I teach art history but itâ€™s person-based rather than genre oriented. I teach about Monet instead of impressionism,â€ he says.
Cregger says that the European travel made him see the â€œimportance of teaching kids that the world is bigger than our bubble. I love our bubble and would never live anywhere else. But there are some many wonderful things happening in the rest of the world that many of these kids will never get to experience. Thatâ€™s what made me paint the murals in my classroom and start adding lessons they wonâ€™t get elsewhere. I wanted to include some things that theyâ€™re not going to get in social studies class and open their eyes to a bigger world. I think if we teach children that there are lots of people who are just like them, but may dress or speak differently; theyâ€™ll be more comfortable getting outside the bubble and seeing what happens in other places.â€
Other local winners include:
Stephanie Miller, math teacher at Colonial Heights Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, who won in 2016.
Susan Hampton, English and reading teacher at Virginia Middle School, Bristol, Virginia, who won in 2014.
Steve Ahm, earth science and biology teacher at Abingdon High School, Abingdon, Virginia, who won in 2013.
Liz Phillips, English teacher at Wallace Middle School, Abingdon, Virginia, who won in 2011.
Allyson Willis, third grade teacher at Watauga Elementary, Abingdon, Virginia, who won in 2010.
Tracy Easterling, mathematics teacher at Vance Middle School, Bristol, Tennessee, who won in 2008.
Casey Moorleghen, fourth grade teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary, Kingsport, Tennessee, who won in 2007.
Ben Talley, fifth grade teacher at Van Pelt Elementary, Bristol, Virginia, who won in 2003.
Wade Whitehead: third grade teachers at Crystal Spring Elementary, Roanoke, Virginia who won in 2002. (former resident of Bristol, Virginia)
Karen Cross, eighth grade geography teacher at E. B. Stanley Middle School, Abingdon, Virginia, who won in 2001.
Teachersâ€™ schools are listed by the school they taught in when they won the award. Some of these excellent teachers may now teach at different schools.
> Steven Cregger excites kids about art