New award established for teachers

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — The Sidney Rotary Club and the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center have teamed to establish a new award for teachers in Shelby County schools.

The Excellence in Education Award will be presented to three teachers annually during a spring luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club.

The new honor was the brainchild of Tom Clark, a Midwest Regional Educational Service Center consultant, who had been asked by its superintendent to serve as a judge of the Teacher of the Year program in Logan County.

“We were so impressed with everything going on in Logan County, we thought there must be just as much going on in Shelby County,” Clark said. “I called Duane (Gaier, president of the Sidney Rotary Club).”

When Clark suggested creating an award for local educators, Gaier and the Rotary Board of Trustees thought it was a good idea.

“It was a great fit,” Gaier said. “We do a similar program, Service above Self, for the community. (Honoring teachers) is overdue. We have good teachers here. When I brought this up to the board, it was a slam dunk.”

Students, parents, fellow teachers, administrators, colleagues and community members can make nominations for the awards. Rotary and the educational service center plan to honor three educators each year to recognize innovation, best practices and masterful teaching in the classroom.

Teachers who work in the schools systems of Anna, Botkins, Christian Academy, Fairlawn, Fort Loramie, Holy Angels, Hardin-Houston, Jackson Center, Lehman, Russia, Sidney and Upper Valley Career Center are eligible for nomination. Nominees must be state-certified teachers and lead pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade classes. Spouses and children of current Rotary Club officers, board members or members of the award committee are not eligible for consideration.

The Excellence in Education Committee comprises the Rotary Club’s Service above Self Committee members and three retired educators. They plan to select five to seven candidates from among all nominees for personal interviews. Teachers can be nominated in more than one year, but can only win once.

Nominations must be made online at by Feb. 18. Nominators will be asked to submit essays describing how an educator meets the requirements for innovation, use of best practices and masterful teaching.

Winners will receive plaques.

“Students get a good education in Shelby County and that education comes from those teachers who care,” Gaier said.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.