Hillsdale, Michigan – June 11, 2019
The Stanton Foundation and the Hillsdale County Community Foundation is pleased to announce two winners of the 2019 Hillsdale County Teacher of the Year awards, and recognize two teachers who received honorable mentions. Brad Felix, Hillsdale Community Schools Algebra II teacher, was honored as the first place winner receiving a cash prize of $15,000. David Boswell, Hillsdale Community Schools vocal music teacher, received the 2nd place honor and a cash prize of $7,500. In addition, two teachers were chosen as honorable mentions also receiving a monetary prize of $1,000. The recipients this year were Charlayne McClanahan, Reynolds Elementary Reading teacher, and Amanda Waidely, Hillsdale Community Schools English teacher. The purpose of this award is to honor the “best of the best” teachers with gratitude and to recognize educators in Hillsdale County who go above and beyond for their students and community. Ultimately, the Stanton’s hope is to “raise the bar” and encourage other educators to realize the importance of their chosen profession. Hillsdale County Community Foundation was excited to have Jack and Sheila Stanton, son and daughter in law of donors David and Laura in attendance, to present the awards.
First place winner, Brad Felix, has taught for 28 years at Hillsdale Community Schools. Mr. Felix is dedicated and committed as he strives to make math real to students. He has taken a difficult, required class, Algebra II, and has worked hard to ensure every student has the ability and opportunity to be successful in his class. With math as his subject, Brad recognizes he can use various strategies to make sure he is accessible and available to meet the needs of his students. One unique strategy that he uses is once a week, he sits at a desk in the middle of the classroom to make himself “one of the students” and a part of their environment. Brad also expands his teaching beyond the classroom and on to the court through his role as the Boys Varsity Basketball coach. He looks at his role as a coach as another form of teaching, building relationships with players and leading them to success. One of Brad’s supporters noted he is one of the most dedicated, organized and passionate educators one can find.
Second place winner, David Boswell, has served as the vocal music teacher for the past 29 years at Hillsdale Community Schools. Mr. Boswell’s commitment to the school and community is seen in his multiple ventures, awards and recognition. Under David’s direction, multiple students have gained Regional and State recognition in Honors Choir, many have pursued post-secondary training as vocal music majors and his students have had opportunities through collaborations with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra and the Hillsdale Arts Chorale. Among several opportunities he has provided for his students, Boswell’s love for music inspired him to create Artrageous!, a weekend dedicated to promoting the students and their artistic talents through various art forms. A supporter of David noted that he has given his students an outlet to escape the stress of academics, social pressures and growing up, and in the process, created a legacy of excellence in the music community.
Honorable mentions were also awarded to two excellent teachers. Charlayne McClanahan, Reynolds Elementary Reading teacher, has taught grades 4 through 6 for the past 9 years. McClanahan’s greatest desire is to build a strong relationship with her students so she can create an environment that is irresistible. Amanda Waidely, Hillsdale Community Schools English teacher, has proudly served the past 6 years. Waidely strives daily to ensure curriculum is taught, connections are made, needs are met and success is achieved while remaining intentional in developing relationships with others. Both honored educators play a crucial role in their school communities with their peers and students.
Nominations were received from educational professionals, students, parents, and community members in general. This year, 37 teachers were nominated, with several receiving multiple nominations. All applications were reviewed by a committee, which utilized a points system in evaluating applications. More information about the Teacher of the Year Award or the award recipients can be obtained by calling the Hillsdale County Community Foundation office at 517-439-5101 Monday through Friday from 9 am – 4 pm, or by stopping at the offices located at 2 S. Howell Street in Hillsdale.
The Stanton Foundation was established in 1991 by David and Laura Stanton. This private foundation was established to promote adoption and education programs. The Hillsdale County Teacher of the Year Award was created to honor those who have a most profound effect on young people and who greatly influence the leaders of tomorrow. Dr. Laura and Mr. David Stanton embody the spirit of philanthropy and take their role as servants to humanity very seriously. Their commitment to leave the world a little better than they found it has reaped great rewards among those they serve and their legacy of love and support will live on long after their lifetime.