Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015
Alison Williams, left, and Amy McGreevy have earned the Childers Foundation Teaching Excellence Award from Furman University.
Furman University’s Education Department recently honored two outstanding first-year teachers from Greenville County Schools with the Childers Foundation Teaching Excellence Awards.
Amy McGreevy, a second grade teacher at Welcome Elementary, and Alison Williams, an English teacher at Carolina High and Academy, were selected for the award.
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.
“Having met the previous recipients of these awards, know that you join a very elite corps of exceptional teachers. You have risen above your classmates in distinguishing yourselves and thus earning these citations,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty John Beckford.
Amy McGreevy is a teacher who is committed to her second-graders, providing engaging learning opportunities using iPads during the day and also taking the time to attend students’ afterschool activities, such as football games and cheerleading events, said Wendy Thrailkill, McGreevy’s mentor in Furman’s Teacher-to-Teacher program. “She is the type of teacher that researches ways to make learning meaningful to her students,” Thrailkill said. “Amy always has something new to share with me; I have learned many new strategies from her.”
Students walking into her classroom each morning are guaranteed a hug, handshake or high five. “I let them know when I am proud of things that they are doing, whether it is a great grade on a math test or being a great friend on the playground,” Ms. McGreevy said.
Empowering her students’ voices and forming relationships with them is key for Alison Williams. “One of the wonderful things about students is that they will always ask questions that challenge us to think critically about the nature of our content and why it should matter to them,” she said.
One of Ms. Williams’ role models was her high school English teacher, a big, burly wrestling coach, and a thoughtful man who really took the time to converse with and get to know his students. She was impressed, and eventually ended up changing her career plans from biology to English.
“It’s not unusual for a student to approach Ms. Williams with a story of some hurt or concern,” said Ramona White, university supervisor. “Oftentimes, the student is someone who’s heard about a young Carolina High English teacher who listens and cares and thinks young people are special.”