Students and administrators from Effingham High School came together at a press conference Friday to commemorate EHS teacher Joe Fatheree, who was named a finalist for The Global Teacher of the Year project. There were more than 8,000 entries for the honor, which was launched last year by the Varkey Foundation. Video from the press conference can be seen at the bottom of the article.
Along with Fatheree himself, speakers at the press conference were Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan, EHS Principal Jason Fox, and students Joe Nieman, Miguel Garcia, Chipman “C.J.” Schmidt, Shauna Sloan, and TuckerDenton. Student Jessica Quicksall served as the events organizer and M.C.
Superintendent Doan and Principal Fox highlighted Mr. Fatheree’s ability to get students involved and to embrace and explore new ideas.
A common theme was among the speech’s given by Fatheree’s students: his ability to encourage and inspire.
Joe Nieman said that Fatheree has helped to create a collaboration between students and teachers, were they are looked at as both friends and mentors. He said that students feel like they’ve accomplished something when leaving Fatheree’s classroom.
Miguel Garcia spoke on the courage he was given by Fatheree. He noted that he wouldn’t be in front of an audience speaking without the influence of Fatheree.
C.J. Schmidt spoke about Joseph Fatheree’s ability to inspire. Schmidt said that Mr. Fatheree has been his inspiration to be creative.
Shauna Sloan said that along with being a great teacher, Fatheree is also a leader and a friend. She said it was Joe Fatheree who offered her encouragement and support for her career plans.
Tucker Denton was the final student speaker. He said it was through his time being taught by Fatheree that he learned how to find success. Denton said that Fatheree is always encouraging innovation and creativity.
When it was Joseph Fatheree’s turn to speak he began saying “none of this is about me.” It is instead about his students he said, and what they have and will accomplish. “They are the future,” Fatheree said.
During his speech he spoke on the importance of the Varkey Foundation and their work to elevate teachers. He talked about the importance of teachers, commending the great teachers, staff, and administrators he has had the opportunity to work with and learn from.
Fatheree is among fifty finalists. The next step in the process will see a film crew of Fatheree’s students putting together a video in January highlighting his teaching. That will be followed by the selection of a top 10 from the finalists, who will travel to a banquet in Dubai where the winner will be selected.