Educator of the year nominations now being accepted

Liz Laubscher

Most students have a professor or faculty member they admire and feel has made an impact on their lives.

Nominating them for the Coleman Foundation’s seventh annual Educator of the Year award is a great way to show appreciation to those educators.

“The annual Educator of the Year awards ceremony honors outstanding Portage County educators for their compassion and understanding of young people,” said Connie Skingel, director of Annual Giving for the Coleman Foundation. “The Foundation recognizes that educators build and inspire leaders, which is essential for a healthy community.”

Skingel is in charge of the fundraisers to raise money for Coleman Professional Services, which is a non-profit provider of behavioral health and rehabilitation programs. The Educator of the Year award is one of the fundraisers, but it doesn’t cost anything to nominate. Contributions and sponsorships given by local community members and businesses are what is used toward the foundation.

One educator from five categories – preschool through middle school, high school, college or university, retired educator, and non-traditional educator such as a coach, guidance counselor or librarian – is selected by a 12-person committee to receive the award.

Coleman holds a private reception with hors d’oeuvres and an opportunity to meet the educators, with a cost for those in attendance. An award ceremony, free and open to the public, immediately follows. It showcases a video presentation about each educator.

At the ceremony, chosen educators each receive a $1,000 cash award, which is encouraged to be used toward educational services.

Dave Dalton, executive director of educational technology and distributed learning at Kent State, won the Educator of the Year award in 2005.

Dalton’s position at the time was assistant professor for educational foundations and special services. Dalton, who was nominated by one of his graduate students, said he was surprised when he found out he received the award.

“It was very exciting,” Dalton said. “It’s always nice to receive recognition, especially from a student, and to know your work makes a difference in their life.”

He matched the award with $1,000 of his own money and gave it to the Kent State University Foundation. He asked for the money to be awarded to at least four or five students in the education program.

“The point of returning the money,” Dalton said, “was recognition of the debt we owe to the students.”

Dalton also expressed his appreciation for the Coleman Foundation.

“It was really a pleasure for me to get the recognition from Coleman,” Dalton said. “The work they do in the community is wonderful. They are really a great organization.”

Carol Donley, a Kent State alumna and now an Andrews professor of biomedical humanities at Hiram College, received the Educator of the Year Award in 2006.

She was nominated by a faculty member with whom she taught interdisciplinary courses, including topics in literature and medicine.

“I was very surprised and humble,” Donley said. “I just didn’t think of myself as that outstanding.”

Like Dalton, Donley gave her $1,000 award back to the school.

“I donated it to the center for literature and medicine,” Donley said. “It will help support things like visiting scholars.”

Donley also said Coleman should be thanked for all of the work it does in the community.

The deadline for nominations is Oct. 27. Forms are online at For more information, contact Skingel at (330) 676-6832.

Contact social services reporter Liz Laubscher at [email protected]