Science, taught the Wilde way, earns him national award
A simple commitment to education won a local teacher and his school $3,500 in cash.Mike Wilde, a science teacher at Glenwood Springs High School, was awarded $3,000 from RadioShack for his commitment to academic excellence in science and technology. Wilde received the award in an April 22 ceremony in Las Vegas, Nev.”It doesn’t happen very often that you get a national award,” said Wilde, sitting in his classroom and surrounded by scales, microscopes and other scientific gadgets. Actually, he admitted, he couldn’t believe he even heard back from RadioShack after his nomination package was sent in. It included essays he wrote on technology, innovation, and class curriculum.Since 1988, RadioShack has awarded more than $4.2 million in cash and prizes to 1,330 individuals for their commitment to excellence and innovation in the classroom. Wilde was one of only two Colorado teachers and 110 teachers nationwide to receive the 2002 award. Joanne Smith, a teacher at Horizon High School in Thornton, was also a recipient.Wilde, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Debbie, was nominated for the award by GSHS assistant principal Sonya Hemmen, with the support of principal Mike Wells.Because Wilde teaches at GSHS, the school will also receive a $500 RadioShack Tech Tool Grant, which may be spent on any technology program in the school. Wilde said the school hasn’t yet decided how to spend the money.The $3,000 in cash goes to Wilde personally, to spend in any way he wants.”It’s kind of mad money,” he said with a grin. “You don’t get that very often.”Wilde has been a teacher for 25 years. His first five years were spent teaching middle school at Julesburg.He also chairs the GSHS science department, sits on the Re-1 School District’s Interest-Based Bargaining Committee, which negotiates salaries and raises for district staff members, and serves on the Roaring Fork Community Education Association. That’s not all.Wilde also coaches baseball for GSHS, co-sponsors the El Pomar Youth & Community Service (EPYCS) student group, which recently gave $10,000 to local nonprofit and private organizations, and provides play-by-play action over the public address system for Glenwood Demons at-home athletic events.In 1994, he was selected as the Garfield County Humanitarian of the Year. He was nominated for the L.S. Wood Teacher of the Year award, “a lifetime ago and a galaxy away,” in 1986, he said.Wilde has also received recognition for getting his students involved in the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Rivers of Colorado Water Watch Network, or Riverwatch. The program allows students to help monitor the health and overall condition of Colorado’s waterways. In 2000, Wilde was named River Conservator of the Year by the Roaring Fork Conservancy. He was honored as Riverwatch Teacher of the Year by the DOW in 1998 and 1999. “We’re trying to expand on the program,” said Wilde. The conservancy recently received a stormwater grant. Wilde said he hopes to have students chart Glenwood Springs’ storm drain system to look at where runoff water goes. Students are also helping to pilot an educational course for the program.Another program that is still in its brainstorming phase is a data information exchange with Siberia, proposed by Riverwatch originator Barb Horn.Riverwatch is one of the many ways his students learn through participation.As freshmen entered Wilde’s class Monday afternoon, they couldn’t help but notice a large brass weight hanging from the ceiling vent in the center of the room.”We’re studying inertia today,” he told students as they entered the classroom.Explained Wilde, “I’m trying to reach all kids and excite them about science and the world.”
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