Passion for their profession and a gift for engaging with students have earned two instructors Chippewa Valley Technical College’s highest teaching award. Chrystal Reidt, a full-time Welding instructor since 2008 and Ron Keys, a Chemistry and Physics instructor since 2001, were named the 2020 winners of the John Frank Award Excellence in Education Award Aug. 20.
In addition, English instructor Andrew Freeburg was honored with the Domer Award for new faculty members and History Instructor Jonathan Hedeen was named the winner of the Kohler Award for part time faculty members.
“Chrystal strives to give her students the best experience possible,” Jeff Sullivan, dean of apprenticeships, manufacturing, engineering and IT wrote in support of Reidt’s nomination for the award. “Chrystal is truly concerned about the success and well-being of all her students. She demands excellence yet expresses caring and concern for each student.”
Reidt said her philosophy is to focus on preparing the students to succeed in industry. “My main goal is to help people, and I have been accused many times of having high standards,” she wrote. “If I fall back to lower standards, my students fail in industry, and that is unacceptable to me. I associate my success to my students’ success in the classroom, as well as industry.”
Students have commented on Reidt’s personal relationship with her students. “One major thing I love about having Chrystal as a teacher is the fact that I can joke around with her and she will joke right back,” wrote one student. “There are times where I just need a few minutes break so I will just talk to her about life. She is a wonderful teacher.”
Former student Mik Devereaux noted in support for Ron Keys that he previously hated taking chemistry classes and hoped the one with Keys would be different. “He was upbeat, cheerful, funny and full of life,” Devereaux wrote. “As the semester progressed, I saw an educator fully devoted to his students and their learning. His lessons were engaging and fun.”
“My personal philosophy of teaching always culminates with one word – passion,” wrote Keys, who served on the Mondovi School Board for 12 years. “There has never been a single day in my 30-plus years of teaching that I awoke not wanting to go to work as a professional educator. For me, curiosity as a science teacher drives the passion. Or is it passion of science that drives the curiosity? I am constantly searching for that next exciting lab or updating a mediocre lab to higher standards.”
“Ron and I have taught side by side in the Science department for over fifteen years,” wrote Mary Purvis, science program director. “During that time, I have observed that Ron is passionate about science, science teaching and his students. He is constantly trying to find new and better ways to teach science in fun, relevant, up-to-date and interesting ways.”
Freeburg was nominated by ten students for the Frank Award, despite being ineligible as a new faculty member. He was presented with the Domer Award for new faculty members.
“Andy is an incredibly charismatic instructor that has the rare ability to engage every single student in the classroom,” said student Jack Shaw. “He not only challenges students to use critical thinking and reassess their own personal perspectives, but he is incredibly supportive and encouraging of his students as well.”
“Characterized by his students as ‘passionate, invested and funny,’ Andrew utilizes student-centered and innovative teaching practices, that hold all students accountable for participating in ways that are equitable and engaging,” CVTC’s College Professional Development office wrote.
“Jonathan Hedeen brings passion to the topics he teaches and aims to help students understand the connection between learning U.S. History and how this knowledge will help them in their future endeavors. Jonathan is consistently looking for new ways to create an active and student-centered learning environment, and he has taken on opportunities to incorporate educational technologies to enhance his lessons,” Stephanie Vobornik, assistant director of curriculum & professional development wrote.
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