Posted: Friday, January 8, 2016

Mary Varley, a third grade teacher in Spartanburg District 6 and John Morrison, a social studies teacher at Greer High, center, are the winners of the 2015 Childers Education Foundation Teaching Excellence Award from Furman University. They are pictured with Education Department Chair Dr. Nelly Hecker, left, and Furman University President Dr. Elizabeth Davis, right.John Morrison, a social studies teacher at Greer High School, has been named a recipient of the 2015 Childers Education Foundation Teaching Excellence Award from Furman University.

A committee of Furman faculty, along with school administrators and mentor teachers who worked closely with award nominees, used three main criteria in selecting Morrison for the award: love of content, love of teaching and love of student.

Morrison, a history major, graduated from Furman in 2015 and served as a social studies student teacher intern at Berea High School last fall.

Morrison has done “a phenomenal job of engaging students and incorporating a variety of teaching practices in each class,” said Thomas Looper, Sr., social studies department chair at Berea High School. “His love of content, teaching and his students was exemplified in his enthusiasm, attention to detail and creativity. I realized quickly John’s professionalism and passion for not only social studies but for the students in his class.”

Furman President Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean John Beckford, Ph.D., along with family, friends, faculty, mentors and administrators, attended the conferral ceremony and special reception last month. Mary Varley, a first-year third grade teacher at Anderson Mill Elementary School in Spartanburg District 6, was also selected as an award recipient.

The $1,500 award was established in 2009 by Marybeth Bunting Childers ’80, an education major at Furman who founded two schools and was named North Carolina Teacher of the Year, and her husband, Alfred Childers ‘80, a former member of Furman’s Board of Trustees.

“Mary Varley and John Morrison are exceptional and inspiring teachers,” said Hecker. “With never-ending energy, they engage their students in meaningful and well-developed lessons; they care for their students’ growth and well-being; they bring honor to Furman and to the teaching profession. We are proud to honor their accomplishments.”

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