SPECIAL HEROES











Major bookstores, and libraries are now able to order the book,
 
Teens! Improve Your Life -
Don't Overlook The Obvious
!
If you do not see it on their shelves,
simply request that they stock it!

You can also order it directly from this site
or from Amazon.com
and other retailers!
And, visit
www.TeensImproveYourLife.com

Karl Wadensten

Not all educators are teachers by profession or training. -- Such is the case with Karl Wadensten, President of Vibco, Inc., in Wyoming, RI.

Vibco is a 40+ year young manufacturer of vibrators for construction and other industries. In recent years, Karl took the company on a LEAN journey. (LEAN being an incredible way to increase efficiency and more. Based upon Toyota principles.)

Karl created what he calls President's University where he invites company leaders to Vibco so that they can learn and see firsthand what LEAN principles can do for a business. This has become an incredibly popular, ongoing event. There are waiting lists for it.

Karl also educates 'the masses' with a regular radio show, The LEAN Nation, currently heard on WPRV radio and available in podcast format.

Kudos, Karl! May you continue educating us on the benefits of LEAN. And, continue to show us that there is an educator hiding in most of us, waiting for the opportunity to 'come out and play'.

Maria-Isabel Hoyt 


Parents are truly not born knowing all of the correct things to do. Maria-Isabel Hoyt knows this.

Maria was coordinator of the English as a Second Language Dept. in an Arlington, VA school. She knew that approximately 20% of her county's population was Hispanic and the number was growing. She also knew that these parents needed assistance in learning of community resources, parenting skills, language skills, and support.
Together with two friends, Maria went to the County and received money in 1989 to begin Project Family.

The program is growing and partnering with others. The success is great as are the lessons that all involved learn.

Michael A. Rauer


Michael A. Rauer is an exceptional example of a career change to teaching that has paid-off exceptionally well to both students and co-faculty, alike.

Mr. Rauer spent over 20 years defending our nation, while in the US Army. After retiring from service, he knew life was too short on one hand and too long on the other, to not continue working and 'give back' to his country in a totally different way.

He began teaching in 1994. His experiences traveling and living throughout the world, especially Europe, was great preparation for his classes in World and European History at the Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, VA. He has been a chaperone for students to France and Europe. He is moderator for the school's Model United Nations Club and the Economics Club.

Mr. Rauer also serves on the Technology Select Subcommittee of the National Council for Social Studies. He has received numerous recognition. He received the Washington Post's 'Grants in Education' award. He had a research fellowship at the Office of Medical History, US Army Surgeon General's Office, had work published, and attended the United Nations Association's Teachers Program at Fordham University.

The World Affairs Council, of Washington, DC, has chosen Mr. Rauer as a 'Teacher of the Year'.

We salute this renaissance man who has chosen to give to both his nation's security and it's future, it's children.

Doug Hulinsky

Doug Hulinsky is an industrial arts teacher who knew that bravery cannot wait for a 'go-ahead' from someone else.


In November of 1997, while teaching, one of his students spotted smoke coming from a nearby home. Doug contacted the school's office which in turn notified the fire department. With quick thinking, he found the homeowner's daughter in a classroom and went with her to the burning house. The door was hot from the fire, but Mr. Hulinsky opened it and pulled the girl's mother out to safety, with the help of another teacher Ray Clifton. Doug performed CPR on the mother, who was alive.

Mr. Hulinsky does not believe that what he did was anything outstanding.

Pham Van Sim

Mr. Sim is an exceptional teacher. One who has an exceptional background and view of this world. You see, he is blind. He has been since age 16, when a mine that he touched accidentally resulted in his losing his left hand  and in losing his sight. At age 20, he moved to Ho Chi Minh City and began special schooling. To cover his  tuition, Mr. Sim wove mats. In 1998, he completed college and offered to teach at the Disabled Children Nursing
Centre.

He is teaching 20 blind children who lived in poverty in the Dong Nai province. Since this is a residential program, his influence is felt 'around the clock'.

Mr. Sim's wife is blind and he has a child.

Students learn from him that one's mind is not disabled simply because their vision is.

Larry Gagnon    

Career changes happen more often than we realize, and when it happens to talented folks who decide to become educators, many benefit!

Larry Gagbnon was a photographer and ad agency employee with years of experience. He also was a man who was asked by a San Diego Rancho Bernardo High School faculty member to become a teacher. Larry accepted the offer.
He teaches in the Digital Media Program and the school won 8 awards in categories that they were nominated for at the San Diego Innovative Video In Education competition.

Students in his class can earn a cash stipend, helpful to these students in many ways. This diverse population offers much to Larry, as well.

Do you think that you should consider a career change?

Mark Johnson


Last year, a 50 year young teacher proved that heroes 'under fire' need not be young.

Mark Johnson was a teacher at the Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota. He was getting ready for a class when he heard a gunshot. At 6'2" and 255 pounds, Mr. Johnson is a formidable sight. He went to check out the sound and saw the unimagineable: a student, Jason McLaughlin, with a gun. Mark was the target of Jason's gun, now, and he was able to command the boy to stop and put it down. Unfortunately, Jason had already shot two students, one of whom died.
Mark escorted the shooter to the school office. He then tried helping the victims.

Mr. Johnson refused to accept the title of 'hero', that others were bestowing upon him. But he was. And if he had not acted as he did, there would probably have been many other victims that day.

Chauncey Veatch


One can serve America in many ways. One way is to help protect it by serving in the armed forces. Another way, is to help prepare future generations learn. Chauncey Veatch did both. And for his efforts he was named Teacher of the Year in 2002 and officially honored by President Bush.

Chauncey was born in Kansas and spent years moving frequently with his family. He spent much time in southern California.

After spending 22 years in the Army, serving in various capacities, Mr. Veatch retired in 1995. He had siblings who were teachers, and the education field appealed to him. Without formal teaching experience, he was allowed to teach 8th grade math and science in Thermal, CA. He took classes nights, weekends, and summers in order to get the appropriate credentials to continue teaching.

In 1999, Chauncey began to teach at Coachella Valley High School. Almost all of his students are Hispanic and from migrant families. A large number of them are also special education students.
He has his students participate in the community. They have distributed pamphlets on health issues and more, to migrant workers and their families. He resurrected the California Cadet Corps. This is a program designed to instill leadership and citizenship skills to upperclass students.
He has also taught English as a Second Language and other subjects to adults in evening programs.

Yes, one can give to their country in many ways. And Chauncey Veatch has done that and then some.

David Levin and Michael Feinberg

Being disavantaged economically does not have to result in educational deprivation. Just ask David Levin and Michael Feinberg, 2 former Teach for America participants.

These 2 dedicated educators believed that they could create a program, a school wherein inner-city youth could get a dynamic college-prep education. One that would sustain these children and offer hope along with their efforts.

In 1994, with only 50 fifth-grade students from Houston, Texas, they implemented KIPP, Knowledge is Power Program. Although only 1/2 had passed their fourth-grade tests, after the KIPP program, 90% passed their fifth-grade English and mathematics exams.
The following year, Feinberg's KIPP Academy Houston became a charter school and Levin returned to New York and established KIPP Academy in the South Bronx.

Cornerstones of KIPP were: to have lots of homework, strict behavior policies, and more. Teachers have too be exceptional. Not just bright and able to communicate well, but they have to be dedicated and yet capable of enlisting a sense of trust and fun with the students. Parents, students, and teachers sign a contract of sorts commiting to a team approach where long hours and hard work and model behavior is promised. Students typically spend from 7:30am until 5pm, Monday-Friday at KIPP. Plus alternating Saturdays. Plus 3 weeks in the summer. Imagine that their teachers are available after hours by cell-phone!

AND THE RESULTS? Aside from what was alraedy mentioned, 99% of their alumni went on to college-prep high schools. And 80% of seniors from their program are colleg-bound-motivated.The New York State Senate has recognized the KIPP Academy as being the highest performing middle school in the Bronx for 6 consecutive years. No small task!

KIPP has expanded to 31 schools in 13 states and D.C.

Doris and Donald Fisher, the co-founders of GAP, Inc. gave a $15 million grant in 2000 for David and Michael to replicate their success elsewhere and to train outstanding teachers who will serve in these hard-to-get-teacher areas.

We tip our mortarboards to these 2 fine educators.

LouAnne Johnson

A 'Teacher's Teacher' might best describe LouAnne Johnson. Then again, maybe a 'Student's Best Friend' might be appropriate. Or perhaps...

LouAnne is a former U.S. Navy journalist, Marine Corps officer, high school teacher, college instructor and the author of The New York Times bestseller Dangerous Minds (originally titled "My Posse Don't Do Homework').

LouAnne enlisted in the U.S.Navy in 1971 and served eight years on active duty, achieving the rank of Petty Officer First Class. She earned scholastic honors at Defense Information School in Ft. Harrison, Indiana, and later was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and air Force Achievement Award for her work as a journalist and radio-tv broadcaster. She earned a B.S. in psychology while on active duty, then completed Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

After some serious soul-searching, LouAnne decided to leave the military. Following her honorable discharge from military service, she worked as special sections editor for Copley News Service. In 1986, she returned to college and earned a secondary teaching credential and a masterís degree in teaching English. While attending college, she worked as an editor for Baseball Card News and as an executive assistant at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

In 1989, LouAnne taught English as an intern at a high school in San Mateo County, CA. The following year, she taught English and reading to non-English speaking students, and was selected as one of four teachers for the Computer Academy -- a school within a school for at-risk teens and one of 10 pilot programs funded by a federal grant. Two years later, she was appointed department chair for the Academy. During the government evaluation of the 10 pilot programs, LouAnne's group was rated first in higher grade point averages, increased self-esteem, academic achievement and student retention.

In 1993, LouAnne moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and taught freshman composition at New Mexico State University while taking creative writing courses. In 1994-95, she taught Developmental English, Literature and Composition at Onate High School in Las Cruces. From 1999-2000, she taught Developmental Reading/Writing, Introduction to Fiction, and literature courses for secondary teacher students at Western New Mexico University in Truth or Consequences. In 2001-2002, she taught freshman English at Alamogordo High School and Technical Communications at NMSU -Alamogordo. At present, she is working as a free-lance writer and educational consultant.

She has a new book being published later this year, 'Queen of Education'.

Michelle Pfeiffer starred in the August 1995 box office hit ďDangerous MindsĒ which was based on 'My Posse Donít Do Homework'. 'My Posse' and 'The Girls' were both condensed in Readerís Digest magazine, and Dangerous Minds has been published in eight languages, including Italian, German, Japanese and French. LouAnne has presented keynote addresses to numerous organizations, including the ATE National Conference, the National Council on Curriculum Development, and Texas Assoc. of School Administrators. She has conducted workshops for education students at colleges across the country, including Stanford University, San Francisco State University and College of Notre Dame. LouAnne has appeared on several TV shows, including Oprah, CBS Eye to Eye, NBC Weekend Today, Maury Povich, Tom Snyder, and CNN Talkback Live.

Bill DuSel

Half a century is a long time to be involved in any occupation. But with the common complaints now heard of the youth of today and how difficult and thankless it can be to educate our young, someone as dedicated and special as Bill DuSel, is to be commended.

Dr. DuSel graduated from Stanford with honors. His 1st job was at Los Gatos High School. His career has not only involved direct teaching, but writing educational books, winning the Terrace's 1996 Senior of Distinction Award, and being Vice-President at SJSU college.
He started the second-largest Educational Opportunity Program in the country, when he was at SJSU.
He spent many years, in many capacities, helping youngsters and others discover the wonders of knowledge, friendship, standing up for what is right, and more.

Dr. DuSel served our nation in the Army Air Corps.
He is also a musician and sculptor. And, someone married to the same woman for over 50 years!

A renaissance man, Dr. DuSel is a true source of inspiration for us all.

Orrin Hudson


From state trooper to educator to motivational speaker is a long road, that has been well-traveled by Orrin Hudson.

Orrin is in his 40's and spent a half-dozen years as a state trooper. He also spent time in sales. 
An avid chess player, Orrin believed that chess could help children learn many skills and to develop character. Since 1986, he had been teaching chess to children. In 1999, Mr. Hudson knew that he wanted to teach more children. - That same year, he won the Birmingham City Chess Championshipbeating the highest-ranked player in the tournament.

Orrin credits Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker/guru, with giving him that extra boost. He created Be Someone, Inc., a non-profit that uses chess to instill much into children. His goal is to reach as many as he can.

Over the years, Orrin has taught over 15,000 children chess. He also gives motivational speeches.

Not only are 'mainstream' sports important, but so is chess. Let's applaud and support. Mr Hudson's efforts!

Ethel Rice

'Everyone can make a difference' is a truism. And Ethel Rice, a former librarian at Western State College, in Colorado, is such a case in point.

Ms. Rice had been a student at Western State College, herself in the 1960's. She eventually became a librarian, there, for approximately three dozen years.

In 2000, She donated $1 million that she saved/invested to the collge. Yet, she did so anonymously, at first. Then, in 2003, at the behest of others, she made her donation public. The reason to go public was essentially to provide a 'living example' of what folks can do for schools they had attended or believed in.
Her gift establishes an Endowed Chair in the Art Department.

Although her retirement might have been 'that much nicer' by keeping the money, her donation will be an ongoing gift and inspiration.

Shih Shun-cheng


Summer is a time for beach fun, not tragedy. But at Fulung Beach in Taiwan, June 2004, it was certainly the latter.

Shih Shun-cheng, a National Taiwan University professor, brought over 20 faculty and students on a camping trip. During an early morning swim, students were swept away by waves. Shih went into the water to resacue them. However, the students survived, while Shih, a responsible and brave instructor lost his own life.

It is true, that death takes no holiday.

EDUCATION HEROES

If YOU know of someone who is a Special Hero,
please click on the
Nominate A Hero link to your left.
Write-ups to 6,000 words are accepted..

Teacher's Aides are far too often dismissed as 'wannabe-but-failed-in-the-quest-to-be-teachers'. - The fact is that they serve an incredible role. And, are great and talented individuals. Here is one of many such great ones!

First grader and teacher's aide hailed as heroes


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQJPu9FnhpE

Conn.'s Jahana Hayes named
2016 National Teacher of the Year

CBS This Morning

  www.youtube.com/embed/1fa0e8P_OTU?version=3&hl=en_US

UNLIKELY TEACHER Tim Clue

  www.youtube.com/embed/ lm0zS0kxo-I?version=3&hl=en_US

Laura Bush

Yes, that Laura Bush! Our former First Lady, here in the U.S.
Libraries, reading, children, education: All of vital concern to Mrs. Bush. For that she should be commended!, regardless of any political views that you or others might disagree with.

Mrs. Bush founded The Laura Bush Foundation For America's Libraries.
The purpose is to provide funds to and support for school libraries. Parents and other adults too often forget that these repositories exist. They forget that they help to instill knowledge, creativity, and a love for learning in the next generation.

We invite you to visit the website and consider offering them assistance in their mission.

Brady Olson

This social studies teacher found himself facing something that most teachers were never trained for. At least not when attending college. What is that? Dealing with an 'Active Shooter'. Especially one that is a student.

In North Thurston, Washington, a 16 year young, male student came to school dressed in black and armed with a revolver. He fired shots in 2 locations, fortunately, not aiming at any person.

Before the school safety officer was able to fire a shot at this young man, Mr. Olson tackled the boy. With the officer's assistance, they restrained him until police showed up. Had Mr. Olson not shown incredible bravery, risking his own well-being, this young man could easily have found himself dead due to the officer's response to the situation.

Although details are unclear at the time of this writing, the young man claims that he intended for the only victim to be himself at the hands of the safety officer/police. In other words, he planned what has become known as 'suicide by police'. (How sad that he felt this would be the answer to his life's problems.)

We train teachers to handle much more than academics, these days. But they should never have to confront such a situation. Yet, thank goodness that Mr. Olson did what he did. Saving this young man and anyone else who might have been hurt or, worse yet, killed.

You are a hero, Mr. Olson! Thank you.

Nancy Atwell

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury's famous Murder She Wrote character) would be proud of this now famous and $1 million richer, teacher from Edgecomb, Maine!

Nancy Atwell, who has been a teacher for over 4 decades was named the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize. In addition to the prize money, she must teach for at least 5 more years, something Nancy is happy to do.

In 1990, she ceated the Center for Teaching and Learning. This is where she intends to use her prize winnings. The building is in need of repairs and the programs themselves can use the extra funds.

As a side note, there were 2 other American teachers, Stephen Ritz of New York City, N.Y. and Naomi Volain of Springfield, Massachusetts who were in the finals for this international prize!

2014 United Way Education Hero Award -- Kathy Phifer

  www.youtube.com/embed/NSFN09jqnsg?version=3&hl=en_US

Todd Anthony Bobeda

At the heart of troubled teens, there is so very often a future adult with great potential for a really great life. The problem is how to get these young people to see that in themselves and to believe in themselves.

Well, Todd Anthony Bobeda is just such a person.
He grew up poor (financially) on a farm in Texas. He was a handful, to put it mildly. He caused a lot of trouble. But, he also had a knack for working on mechanical things, such as cars and trucks.
Like many in his family, Todd went into the military after high school. He excelled there and traveled into Bosnia-Herzegovina for a stint.
He later enrolled in Lee University, studying Christian education.

From there, Todd became a teacher in Georgia. He then gained his master's degree in counseling. Eventually, Todd moved to Oregon. His heart was in helping students outside of a classroom. Helping them to deal with non-academic issues, as well as traditional education.

Mr. Bobeda knew what it was like to grow up financially poor. To feel out of place. To lack direction. To be sad or angry.
He has become a great resource for students. Because he can relate to what they are going through, even if the actual details are different than those that he faced.

We need more Todd Bobeda's. Just ask any of the teens whom he has helped!

Zellars School teachers perform a dance in the dark

Whether traditional, on-line, or home school teachers, it is important that you engage your students with creativity when you can. If that is not you, then find someone who can embrace this., Variety and even vulnerability matters!

 www.youtube.com/v/gzX-OV7O6R8?version=3&hl=en_US

Lydia Stewart

What we need are more teachers who go that extra mile, especially for those students who face extra challenges. And, Lydia Stewart is helping to fill that space.

A teacher for over 25 years, Ms. Stewart, who is in Prince William County, Virgina, created a school organization, Ordinary People Doing Outstanding Things Together. The purpose? To allow those students with intellectual disabilities to participate in various school activities.

Ms. Stewart has been nominated for/ received multiple honors for her work. And, she is no slouch, herself, when it comes to her own educational successes. She has a Masters degree in Special Education and a Masters degree in telecommunications and film.

Frank Hall

Teachers are trained to teach. And, perhaps simply be there for a student in need of some simple guidance. They are not trained to be there in a crisis involving a student on a rampage. A killing rampage, at that!
Yet, this is what Frank Hall found himself facing, in February 2012. Frank is an assistant football coach at Chardon High School in Ohio.

On that fateful winter day, a 17 year old began shooting inside the school. Even with the gun pointed at him, Mr. Hall went after the young shooter in an attempt to get him away from the school and to hopefully prevent him from harming more people than he had, already. In fact, the student shooter did leave the school and was eventually captured by police.

After this crisis was over, what was Frank's concern? That he had not done more.
Well, we certainly tip our hat to you, mr. hall. You are certainly a role model not only for your students and fellow teachers, but for us all!
 

Mary Nelson

How often does a teacher not only reach out to her students and perhaps other young people, but also lends a hand to adults in need. - Well, Mary Nelson is a teacher who makes things happen. On many levels.

This dedicated teacher founded a youth center that offers adults services and food, along with services for youth. - The center depends upon donations and volunteers. - Among it's activities is a backpack giveaway and annual barbecue (that had over 10,000 in attendance, recently).

Ms. Nelson has been praised by Regis Philbin and will be featured in a NBC 'Hero of Education' feature. - She proves that with motivation and perseverance, teachers can make a difference outside the classroom as well as in the school confines.

Shari Foes

Most young people who go out on their own are prepared for meals by way of knowing fast food restaurant menus. And, when it comes to sewing a button or fixing a hem, the answer is most often in the form of a question: Where is the nearest tailor?
Then there are the minority of men and women who go out into the world prepared to cook their own, less expensive meals and to do their laundry and basic sewing. These are often the result of incredible teachers such as Shari Foes who devote their lives to the seldom taught art of what was known in my day as Home Economic. Today, it goes by various other names, such as Family and Consumer Education. And, it encompasses so much more, than in years past.

Ms. Foes taught for approximately 4 decades, mostly in Jefferson, Wisconsin. - She created a 'Bachelor Survival' class where older high school boys could learn some self-sufficiency. And, with the times, she has incorporated technology.

Too often, we focus purely on academics/ athletics, while forgetting that a school should also help to prepare young people for living successfully on their own. - Thank you, Ms. Foes for helping generations of young adults to become self-sufficient citizens in the community!

Jim Murley

Contrary to popular belief, education heroes do not have to be actual teachers. And, who better to prove this point than Jim Murley, a Texas bus driver who also created the Reading Riders Program.

A longtime salesman, Jim decided to become a special needs assistant for a school. Later, Jim became a school bus driver. he always shows interest in his riders.

Jim badly wanted to give his riders something constructive to do during the sometimes long rides. So, he created what would become the Reading Riders Program. A program that other bus drivers adopted. - Students would read on the bus. In fact, they could even work on homework. And, teachers began to see improvements!

Jim has decided to become a teacher, so he is taking college courses, while holding down his driver position. We have little doubt that Mr. Murley will see his dream to become a teacher turn to reality.

Dr. Stephen Shore

When most people hear the term Asperger's Syndrome, they often stare blankly. They do not recognize this as a condition on the autism spectrum. They also do not realize that they probably know or at least have met one or more people with it.

Enter Stephen Shore who did not speak until he was 4 years young. Diagnosed as needing institutional care, his mother and father refused the advice. With much support, Stephen blossomed and earned a doctorate degree in special education, from Boston University.

Now, a professor at Adelphi University, Dr. Shore teaches courses in autism and special education. With his own unique perspectives, he is an incredible asset to those educators coming up the ranks. He is also President Emeritus of the Asperger's Association of New England.

We are so thankful for Dr. Shore's efforts and to those who supported him, along the way. There is much to be gained from his story and goals!

Thomas R. Smigel, Jr

Adolescent delinquency is a major problem, nationwide. And, the 2008 Virginia Teacher of the Year, Thomas R. Smigel, Jr. has helped to put a dent in this problem. Thomas has incorporaterd a sense of community service to his classes. He runs a Teen Leadership class where students volunteer their time and efforts to improve their community.

Mr. Smigel is there for his students to confide in, to share with. - He has written and received grants for his school. - Students have raised money for such organizations as Operation Smile.

The Norfolk Public Schools System, his students, and residents of his community have all benefited from his leadership. We would suggest that those of you who are seeking for innovative ways to deal with teenage delinquency should contact him.

Jo Ann Rothschild

Artwork's value is in the eye of the beholder. And abstract art seems to make that statement even more true. But what is not abstarct is the great gift that Jo Ann Rothschild is giving to homeless women in Boston.

Jo Ann is an award winning painter who has lived in various parts of the country, has spent time overseas, and has taught at Tufts University and elsewhere.

The Pine Street Inn in Boston serves women and men who are in need of food, shelter, and clothing. Job training and other services are provided by this organization that began in the '60's. (Please visit their website at: http://www.pinestreetinn.org  .

Jo Ann began going to this organization in 2000. She goes weekly to give the homeless women there, painting lessons.  And more than that, she gives them love, attention, caring, and inspiration.

Jo Ann's art work might be abstract, but her caring and big heart are very easily recognized and appreciated. 

John Sawchuk

School violence is too rampant. And yet, it has become a reality that must be faced and dealt with. Luckily there are folks such as John Sawchuk, who in the face of tragedy and crisis, can be cool and act decisively.

February 2004, in Columbia, NY, at the Columbia High School, allegedly, a 16 years-young male student began shooting with a 12-gauge shotgun. A wise teacher, Nicole Newman, called 911, to alert others. meanwhile, word spread quickly, and the school went into a 'lockdown' mode.
John Sawchuk, then assistant principal, rushed through the hallways. He met Michael Bennett, a special education teacher. And there, in the hallway, was the shooter. As the boy was about to shoot Mr. Bennett, John, a former football player, hurled himself at the boy.  Unfortunately, the shotgun did manage to be fired, shotting Mr. Bennett, injuring him in the leg. After a struggle, Mr. Sawchuk was able to get the rifle away from the boy. With the help of teachers, the SWAT, and others, the situation was taken care of.
Mr. Bennett credits Mr. Sawchuk with saving his life. John, meanwhile, did what he felt that he had to do, for the safety of all involved.

In the 2004/2005 school year, John was promoted to the new position of deputy principal.
We salute you, Mr. Sawchuk, and smile, knowing that you are providing an excellent role model for others.

Ron Mercier


A teacher's impact is often thought to last a lifetime. Sometimes that might be truer than at other times.

Ron Mercier, in his 60's, a Michigan resident, was a special education teacher, class adviser, and softball coach. He gave a lot of himself, but nothing like what he did for former student, Amy McCloud.

Amy, at age 15 became a diabetic. And later in life, she was spending hours 3 days a week, on dialysis. She needed a new kidney, but her blood type was such that the pool of potential donors was slim.

Along came Ron, who happened to meet Amy's father and stepmother. When he learned of what his then mid-30's student was going through, Ron offered to donate one of his kidneys if it was deemed to be a suitable match.

Ron's gift was not only greatly appreciated by Amy and her family, but by those who learned of it, having a new source of inspiration and a great role model.

Eric Burrows

Unless it has been in such TV shows as Boston Public, we do not usually learn of lawyers giving up their career to become a teacher. (Especially considering the cost of the education.)
But Eric Burrows, not only gave up a great career as a district attorney, he did so with such fervor that he was named the Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year, in 2004.

'Officially', Eric is a high school social studies taecher at San Marcos High School. BUt he does so much more with the students. He leads the school's mock trials. The school has won the county's championship numerous times. He also coaches various sports in the San Ynez Valley.

Mr. Burrows has received numerous other awards and was a nominee for the Disney Teacher of the Year. He himself hold many degrees including a B.A. in history, a M.A. in public policy analysis, a law degree, and a teaching credential.
His love of learning and young people is infectious, as is his passion for whatever he does.

We need folks more like Mr. Burrows who sees the opportunity in their life for a career change and realizes that our nation's and even the world's future depends upon an educated and motivated youth.

Ian Allt

Water is cold even in the summer. Ian Allt, a 26 year old, primary school teacher in Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, learned that the hard and heroic way.

Mr. Allt was with his girlfriend and dog, walking by the Bolton Reservoir when he heard distress coming from a teenager in the water.
Without hesitation, Ian jumped into the cold water in an effort to save the boy. Unlike in many movies, bringing the teen to safety was not easy.

The boy was treated at a hospital and released.