McGlothlin Awards honors teaching excellence
Two outstanding teachers were honored as winners of the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence at a ceremony April 6 at Radford University's Bondurant Auditorium.
The McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence, now in its 18th year, annually recognize two of the Blue Ridge region's best teachers. This year, Glen Chilcote, a music teacher at Kipps Elementary School in Montgomery County, and Fred Mitchell, a Carroll County High School chemistry teacher, were winners of the elementary and secondary categories, respectively.
The awards ceremony was sponsored by the McGlothlin Foundation, Blue Ridge PBS and Radford University's College of Education and Human Development.
“Radford University is proud to partner with the McGlothlin Foundation and Blue Ridge PBS to host the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence ceremony,” said Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill. “The synergy tonight is pretty obvious. We are all focused on excellence in education."
Thomas D. McGlothlin, president of the McGlothlin Foundation in Bristol, Virginia, presented Chilcote and Mitchell with checks of $25,000 each and trophies. Each of the four runners-up received $1,000 and a trophy.
McGlothlin award winners must use a portion of their $25,000 prizes within a year for international travel or study to broaden their thinking and experience, and to further enhance their excellence as professional educators.
Upon receiving the primary level award, Chilcote thanked “all the music teachers who have made a difference in my life.”
He expressed gratitude to the McGlothlin Foundation for its generosity and said he would use a portion of his winnings to travel to Salzburg, Austria, to study the Orff Institute for Elemental Music and Dance Pedagogy and to Stockholm, Sweden.
Mitchell also thanked McGlothlin “for all the support you have provided for good teaching all these years. I appreciate it, and we all do.”
In his acceptance speech, Mitchell said “Teaching can be what you do or it can be who you are. I think the teachers who are up here on the stage tonight are the best teachers in the country, and it’s very humbling just to be included on the stage with them. We all should be so lucky to have a teacher like one of these folks just once in our lives.”
The awards ceremony added a few twists this year.
At the beginning of the event, audience members were asked to download an app that allowed them to answer multiple choice questions about their favorite teachers. Questions were posed throughout the ceremony, and answers were tabulated and displayed in bar graphs on a large screen behind the stage.
Before the winners were announced, three previous McGlothlin award winners – Ben Talley (2003), Liz Phillips (2011) and Steven Cregger (2014) – took part in an on-stage panel discussion about the teaching profession.
Teaching “is the most wonderful profession I could possibly imagine,” Talley said. “So, be happy, be thankful you chose this, and talk other young people into doing the same.”
Before the ceremony, CEHD hosted events throughout the afternoon with the theme, “Teachers Make the Difference.” The day began with a Tea with the Dean event for alumni and retired teachers in the Peters Hall Teachers Resource Center. Break-out sessions followed and featured discussions with educators and previous McGlothlin award winners.
CEHD began its StoryCorps/TeacherCorps initiative with a kickoff event later in the evening. The project’s purpose is for individuals to record conversations about teaching with the StoryCorps app and upload the audio files to the StoryCorps website to draw attention to the teaching profession as one that influences everyone.
The college’s goal to reach at least 1,910 interviews throughout the next 12 months, a nod to the year in which the institution, then known as The State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford, was founded.
“This is part of a very important initiative to inspire and recruit teachers into the wonderful and rewarding teaching profession,” said CEHD Dean Kenna Colley. “This event will inspire you to remind the world that teachers are the ones that truly make the difference.”