Wilde, Phillips named Teachers of the Year | PostIndependent.com

Wilde, Phillips named Teachers of the Year

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Recipients of this year’s L.S. Wood Teacher of the Year awards love the relationships teaching builds with people, and the chance to make a difference in students’ lives.After being nominated by administrators, teachers and students, Glenwood Springs High School science teacher Mike Wilde and Rifle High School teacher Troy Phillips won the awards. They get $4,000 each from the L.S. Wood trust. $2,000 goes to the teachers’ departments, and they get to decide how to spend the remaining $2,000 for education. A ceremonial banquet will be held at the Hotel Colorado on Sunday night for the winners, nominees and people close to them.Wilde has taught at GSHS for 25 years, and for 30 years in Colorado. He’s been a Riverwatch teacher for 16 years. He’s retiring after this school year. He plans to teach water education in a different venue, or possibly work as an educational consultant. He’ll designate the $2,000 toward making sure the science department has the technology that it wants.”I’d like to make sure that everybody has the technology that they would like to have in their classroom,” he said.

He was studying forestry at Colorado State University, but was encouraged to pursue a program that provided a degree in forestry as well as a teaching certificate. He ended up being drawn towards teaching after getting into the classroom on the teaching side of things as part of the program.For Wilde, the best thing about teaching is “the relationships that you build with people – the kids and their families and your colleagues.”If kids described his teaching style, “they would probably say I am a cross between passionate and goofy. … I’m not beyond dressing up in a costume and doing Dr. Doom and the pendulum of death” to illustrate lessons on kinetic and potential energy.Rifle High School English teacher and baseball coach Troy Phillips wasn’t sure yet what he’ll do with the $2,000, but there’s a good chance it will have to do with books. In one of his advanced freshman English classes, students are reading “Fahrenheit 451” and “Tuesdays with Morrie” at the same time to reflect upon and compare similar themes in both books. They speak about how society has gotten so fast paced that people don’t really think about if what they’re doing actually brings them happiness, Phillips said.

Phillips was studying journalism education at Brigham Young University when he decided he really wanted to teach. His dad was a coach and teacher, and it seemed like something he would really enjoy, he said. He’s always loved baseball, playing since he was young and eventually on the team at BYU.He loves the chance to have a positive effect on students.”I love it when a student really grasps on to that desire to become better as a writer, a communicator, a reader – and they start thirsting to read more, write more,” he said. “The same thing happens with baseball when you get players who really want to be as good as they possibly can.”

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comL.S. Wood Trust

Leighton S. Wood owned coal mines in Coal Basin area near Redstone. He owned the Mid-Continent Coal and Coke company. He died in 1965 and five trustees, two of whom live in the area, have operated the trust since 1966. Since then, around $11 million has been given out for charitable causes. The trust mostly provides undergraduate financial aid. Wood was a bachelor who worked in an office underneath his apartment in Chicago. His mining operations were significant contributors to the local economy, especially in the Carbondale and Basalt areas. Wood lived rather well, but simply.The Teacher of the Year awards rotate each year from elementary to middle school to high school levels. Candidates are nominated by administrators, teachers and students. They’re then interviewed and selected by a committee. Other teachers nominated this year are Ben Bohmfalk, Cathleen McCourt and Leslie Keery.• Source: L.S. Wood Trust Administrator Don ParkisonPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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