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Meet the Newest Inductees to the National Teachers Hall of Fame
posted by: Melissa | July 26, 2017, 02:39 PM   

The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in 1989 by Emporia State University as a “tribute to our nation’s most important profession.” Through honoring career teachers who display excellence in the classroom, it hopes to draw the public’s attention to PreK-12 educators. Their facilities include a museum, a Hall of Fame, and a teacher resource center.


Each summer, the National Teachers Hall of Fame recognizes five educators deemed to explify teaching excellence by inducting them into their Hall of Fame. Currently, their Hall of Fame includes teachers from 37 states and the District of Columbia. Last week, they inducted the newest members into the Hall of Fame.


The inductees range from early childhood educators to high school teachers and bring with them experience in a variety of of subjects and techniques. These five teachers were recognized for their commitment to education, their students, and their willingness to embrace change. You can read about them below:


Ashli Skura Dreher is a Special Education Teacher for students starting in grade 8 and as old as 21 years of age from Youngstown, NY. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Canisius College and just earned a doctorate from the University of Rochester this year. During her 21 years in the classroom, she’s earned many distinctions including earning her National Board Certification and being recognized as New York State Teacher of the Year. Parents and coworkers praise her for her caring approach, her professionalism, and her perseverance.


Jonathan Gillentine is an early learning resource teacher from Honolulu. He started his career teaching 3rd grade at Bloomington Christian School in 1978 and remains in the classroom to this day. He earned his doctorate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2005 and his awards include NAECTE’s Outstanding Early Childhood Practitioner and NSTA’s Early Science Educator Award. Dr. Gillentine believes that failure is an inherent part of the learning process and builds long-term relationships with his young students to help teach them resiliency.


Matinga Ragatz teaches high school social studies and world languages in Grand Ledge, Michigan. A classroom teacher for 22 years, she has a master’s degree from Marygrove College. Her honors include Michigan State Teacher of the Year and Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Teacher Award. People who have worked with Ms. Ragatz have noted her dedication to the career, her excellence in the classroom, and her ability to think outside the box and make courageous decisions.


Joseph D. Ruhl has spent his 38 years in the classroom teaching high school science. He took his first teaching job in 1978 in Macon, GA, taking a job 6 years later in Jefferson High School in Lafayette, IN, where he teachers to this day. He’s praised for his unique approach to teaching described as “hands-on, minds-on learning” which uses technology to help individualize instruction. He’s been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, NSTA’s Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Extraordinary Boilermaker Award from Purdue University.


Bob Williams is a math teacher in Palmer, AK, who began his teaching career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Gambia and who currently serves as the Director of Education & School Excellence for Alaska’s Department of Education. Having earned his National Board Certification and been named as Alaska State Teacher of the Year, Mr. Williams is praised for passionate teaching style and his high standards for all students.


You can learn more about these excellent teachers on the National Teachers Hall of Fame website, or by reading this article from NPR.


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