CHAMPAIGN — For Brandon Rutherford, each individual working day he spends as a instructor is a particular working day.
To his shock, an further dose of distinctive was additional to his Monday when Champaign Urbana Educational facilities Foundation and Champaign university district officials walked into his classroom unannounced to honor him with the foundation’s most prestigious teaching award.
A third-, fourth- and fifth-grade enrichment instructor at Champaign’s Stratton Academy of the Arts, Rutherford was presented with the Mann-Hankel Educating Excellence Award.
Rutherford wasn’t told about the award in advance, and judging by his widened eyes, the basis and college officials managed to make it just as a lot a surprise as they hoped.
“This is a big honor and shock, and I am quite humbled by this,” Rutherford claimed.
The 42-calendar year-aged instructor, also a father of 4, grew up in Urbana and graduated from the University of Illinois in 2010.
He has been training at Stratton because 2014 and formerly taught at two other Champaign educational facilities, Back garden Hills Academy and Bottenfield Elementary College.
“Brandon is a exceptional teacher,” Stratton Principal Stephanie Eckels claimed. “He is totally committed to his pupils and this school.”
Rutherford’s nominator, Stratton 3rd-grade trainer Stephanie Wilson, said Rutherford aided her a large amount her to start with yr.
“He’s the greatest teacher I’ve ever worked with,” she stated.
It was not the 1st honor for Rutherford. He was named a New Teacher of the 12 months in 2013 by the Illinois Science Teachers Affiliation.
Rutherford said he finds every single working day as a teacher specific and hard, with every single working day bringing new challenges to clear up.
“The challenge of teaching has served make me increase to be a greater man or woman,” he explained.
He also enjoys the vitality his college students bring to school, Rutherford reported.
“The vitality the learners have when they learn about the earth energizes me and retains me likely,” he mentioned.
Eckels stated Rutherford has been the backbone of Stratton’s gifted software since he joined the school’s faculty.
“One of the most effective options of Brandon’s educating philosophy is his potential to interact the learners in fingers-on used tasks,” she claimed.
“The pupils in Brandon’s class are active learners. I am certain that the learners retain the ideas a lot superior when they arrive from a hands-on challenge exactly where the pupils consider possession of their do the job and have enthusiasm and exhilaration about what they are doing.”
Rutherford claimed he’s experienced the chance by the Champaign educational facilities exactly where he’s taught to build a undertaking-centered curriculum, with this year’s task focusing on hydroponics and gardening.
He beforehand introduced a coral reef venture at the college in 2015-2016 with a $1,000 grant from the basis, according to basis Govt Director Kelly Hill.
The coral reef venture continued till the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutherford reported.
Nominations for the Mann-Hankel award appear from Unit 4 peers and directors and contain at least two letters of help from mother and father, former college students, neighborhood customers, peers, administrators or the nominator.
The award — which also comes with a $2,000 check — goes to a complete-time tenured trainer with at least 10 years encounter who exemplifies characteristics of determination, integrity, motivation to every pupil, company and excellence.
The award is named for Barbara Mann, who served for several a long time on the foundation board, and her husband, Steve Hankel.