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Casper Educator and WEA’s BEWM Leader Honored with National Award
Dirk Andrews (pictured, right) is the recipient of the NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education’s (NFIE) Award for Teaching Excellence sponsored by California Casualty – one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for public educators. The Wyoming Education Association nominated Andrews for the honor, after many of his colleagues wrote letters on his behalf.
“He has been a valuable asset to both our building and our grade level team, because of his background in special education, his personal relationships with families, and his connections to the NCEA and WEA,” said his teaching partner, Erin Jackson.
President Vetter said the WEA is thrilled that California Casualty has joined us again this year to pay tribute to educators who are making such a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across the country.
Dirk’s letters of recommendation for the NFIE award all spoke to his commitment to the students in his class and to the association. Dirk is a founding member of WEA’s millennial group, BEWM! (Because Education in Wyoming Matters!).
“Dirk is a valued resource within and beyond our state on issues affecting younger education professionals,” said NCEA President Doreen McGlade. Dirk sat on a millennial panel for the National Education Association last summer to discuss the generational needs of millennials, and ways to build association capacity within that generation.
Andrews is one of many awardees who will be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence at the Education Gala held sometime next year. Known as the Academy of Awards of public education, the gala attracts more than 850 of the nation’s leaders from public education, philanthropy, and the private sector.
Mills Educator Receives Green Apple Award
Jennifer Leimback (pictured, far right) is an enrichment tutor at Mills Elementary School, and was a driving force in getting a greenhouse in Mills. She met with master gardeners and representatives from the Casper Community Greenhouse Project to develop the greenhouse. The town of Mills waived some of its fees, making it possible for access and water.
Each grade level and classroom at Mills Elementary has assigned time to visit the greenhouse, and each grade level has written integrated, standards-based units, with ISTE standards embedded, that use the greenhouse for instruction.
The benefits students receive are more than solely the hands-on planting; they are also learning to use composting materials and to collaborate with high school students from Star Lane Center on problem-based learning activities.
The WEA Green Apple Award is for recognition of members who contribute to environmental awareness. This award helps to strengthen the bond between education and the environment by bringing the efforts of teachers to the attention of the public and other educators.
Long-time Wyoming Educator and Association Leader Receives Prestigious Gold Key Award
Debbie’s nomination came from local and out-of-state, present and past colleagues who all echoed in their remarks Debbie’s commitment not only to Wyoming students and education, but also to the Wyoming Education Association.
“This award was given in appreciation of constant support of education and the association. She has made an impression on Wyoming and the WEA that everyone can be proud of and strive for,” said WEA President Kathy Vetter.
Debbie is currently an instructional strategist for the Natrona County School District. Before moving to Casper, Debbie was a proud member of the Goshen County Education Association, where she served in many roles, including as local president. Debbie has continued leadership roles locally, within Wyoming, and also with the National Education Association.
Natrona County Education Association President Doreen McGlade said, “She can be counted on for passion, commitment, and the ability to get things done.”
Debbie has continued to stand up for public education by remaining active politically, contacting legislators, writing letters to local newspapers, and serving on local and statewide education committees. Debbie has continued her passion for public education for years, and still does today.
Current Arizona Education Association staffer Matt Kruse, who used to be Southeast UniServ Director in Wyoming and a former WEA member, said, ”I consider myself lucky to have been touched by the magic that is Debbie Bovee. As one of her ‘students’ in her student-centric world, I am forever thankful for the impact she has made on education and our association.” Matt Kruse attended the WEA’s Delegate Assembly to assist Vice President Grady Hutcherson and Central Region President Dirk Andrews present Debbie Bovee with the Gold Key Award.
Debbie is a shining example of the high quality of educators, and that is why she was selected as the WEA Gold Key Award recipient. The WEA’s Gold Key Award is the most prestigious recognition from the WEA. It is presented for extraordinary service which has contributed to the professional development of WEA and to enhancement and advancement of education.