“It’s our way of showing our appreciation to educators for choosing the profession. It’s a tough position and tough career to be an educator day in and day out. They’re molding our future. It’s important someone steps back and says thank you.”
— Maureen Moore, program director for Peabody Energy Leaders in Education, about the program goal.
Kristin Ingalls, a math teacher at Moffat County High School, was honored with the Peabody Energy Leaders in Education award Thursday morning in a surprise ceremony at the high school.
The first of 12 who will be chosen in the Colorado region, which includes Moffat and Routt counties, Ingalls received a check for $1,000 to use at her discretion.
“They can do whatever they want with it,” said Maureen Moore, program director for Peabody Energy Leaders in Education. “It’s our way of showing our appreciation to educators for choosing the profession. It’s a tough position and tough career to be an educator day in and day out. They’re molding our future. It’s important someone steps back and says thank you.”
Educators can be nominated by anyone, and the only prerequisite for being nominated is it be someone who has been working full time in education for at least five years. This can include an educator, secretary, custodian, principal or coach for example.
“It must be someone who inspires a child,” Moore said.
Those wishing to nominate someone must include a 50-100 word statement on why they see the nominee as a leader in education.
Nominees are then notified and sent an application that includes three essay questions: One, what make you want to work in education? Two, what do you think makes you stand out and makes you a leader? Three, what are some of the issues or concerns you see in education, and how would you make improvements to them?
Nominees must include their resume, background and a letter of support from their principal or superintendent. Moore said nominees may include up to three letters of support, but one must be from the principal or superintendent.
Before the committee receives any of the nominee’s information, all personal information that could identify the nominee — such as name, where they teach, what they teach, what grade level and what district — is hidden.
“They’re only looking at a person,” Moore said of the committee’s process for reviewing applications. “They have no clue who the person is, what district they’re from or whether they teach in a private or public school. It’s strictly from an anonymity stand point.”
The selection process will occur once a month, and as this is the first year for the program in the area, Moore said they are still looking for more nominations and applications.
Moore said the committee responsible for selecting recipients is comprised of about 14 local community and corporate leaders, along with some people from Peabody energy.
“They’re all committed to one thing. And that’s selecting honorees that really do extend leadership in the classroom to students and their community,” Moore said.
Moore said the committee chose Ingalls as the first recipient of the award because of the multiple roles she takes on.
“Not only is she the chair of the math department, but all of the extra curriculurs and programs she’s involved in,” Moore said. “How she mentors students and gives the kids the opportunity and pushes then to succeed and meet all their challenges. It’s the cream of the crop always rises to the top.”
Moore said the application process is a rolling one, allowing those who might not have been chosen the first time in the process to continue to be considered. She said they will have another honoree in three weeks, continuing to choose a new educator about every three weeks throughout the school year.
“At the end of the school year, they’ll look at all the honorees and look at them collectively and choose who will be the educator of the year,” Moore said.
At a dinner event in August, all honorees and their spouses will be invited to attend, where one educator will be awarded an additional $5,000.
“Kristin is our first and we’re very proud of her. I expect to honor another 11 honorees so we have a total of 12 here in the 20 Mile area,” Moore said.
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or email@example.com