Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012

Matt Casella, TR High Chemistry Teacher, Earns Childers Foundation Teaching Excellence Award

Matt Casella, TR High Chemistry Teacher, Earns Childers Foundation Teaching Excellence Award

Matt Casella, a first-year chemistry teacher at Travelers Rest High School, has been named recipient of the 2012 Childers Education Foundation Teaching Excellence Award from Furman University.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean Dr. John Beckford and Education Professor Dr. A. Scott Henderson presented the awards to two first-year teachers, Matt Casella and Allison Harwood from Spartanburg District 6,  during a special reception December 6 attended by family, friends, teachers, and administrators.

“The Teaching Excellence Award is a significant achievement for an elementary and secondary teacher candidate as they complete their preparation as prospective educators,” said Henderson, who also serves as Director of Program Development and Evaluation. “It is an acknowledgement of their dedication and commitment to the teaching profession, as well as the positive impact that they have already had on the lives of their own students."
A committee of Furman faculty, along with school administrators and mentor teachers who worked closely with award nominees, used three main criteria in selecting the winners: love of content, love of teaching, and love of student.

“I’ve never had a job that I looked forward to this much,” said Casella. “It is a part of me and I work as hard as possible at it. I spend my free time thinking about ways that I could improve upon my practice, and when I am teaching, I feel comfortable and content.”

“Matt has an excellent rapport with his students that he uses to hold them to high standards for their work,” said Furman professor Michael Svec. “He has a world view that is shaped by science and wants students to not only understand the science content, but also experience and understand how scientists perceive the natural world.”

The $1,500 award was established in 2009 by Dr. Alfred G. Childers (’80), a member of Furman’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Marybeth Bunting Childers (’80), an accomplished student and teacher who majored in Education and certified to teach in the elementary and early childhood grades.

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