It has been an incredible pleasure working on the Education Foundation of Eagle County committee to bring back Evening of Stars, a gala event recognizing and celebrating Eagle County teachers. I feel fortunate to be working on such an important and meaningful event that rewards our amazing Eagle County Schools teachers. I am especially honored after having had the opportunity to volunteer for the The Golden Apple Foundation in Illinois. They state what I also believe to be true: “A critical contributor to student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom.”
EFEC Evening of Stars gives parents and our community the chance to say “thank you” and recognize and award the highly effective and qualified teachers in our district. During the past few months, parents, colleagues and students have had the opportunity to nominate teachers for Outstanding Educator and Rookie of the Year. Teachers from each Eagle County school are chosen to receive Outstanding Educator awards and two teachers — each new to teaching, one from elementary and secondary schools, will receive the honor of Rookie of the Year. Another special award, Friend of Education, is given is to a parent or community member who has volunteered their time to positively impact public education in Eagle County. It has been incredible to see the nominations rolling in. More than 100 teachers were nominated! To me, this is a true testament to the impact our teachers are having on Eagle County students every day.
During our planning of Evening of Stars, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation published its annual letter, in which Mr. Gates admires Eagle County Schools. Our committee is thrilled to be able to take Mr. Gates’ acknowledgement one step further by providing a live opportunity to celebrate Eagle County teachers’ great successes, hard work and efforts in the classroom.
One of my favorite pieces of the Evening of Stars event is the Distinguished Teacher Award. Through this award, EFEC, thanks to generous local sponsors, will be able to provide a scholarship to a teacher to further their education. One of the requirements of the scholarship is that teachers who benefit continue to work in Eagle County schools for at least three years after their coursework. Twenty-seven teachers have benefited from Distinguished Teacher Awards, and countless children have benefited from their advanced coursework in master’s degree programs, intensive language and more.
We are looking forward to a great event tonight and are very thankful to the many businesses and community members who support this wonderful occasion to honor the outstanding educators in Eagle County Schools.
Dana Maurer, of Edwards, is a trustee for Education Foundation of Eagle County.