Area high school teacher Rick Wilson has been honored as the inaugural recipient of the new Education and the Common Good Award.
“Rick constantly goes above and beyond, has an incredibly positive attitude and embodies what we want every Brunswick Dragon to represent,” said Brunswick High School Principal Shanna Crofton about Wilson, who is the Community Outreach Coordinator and a service learning teacher at the high school.
The new award celebrates a local educator who embodies the three tenets the Bowdoin Education Department holds close: be aware of the big picture, embrace theory and practice, and live in and model a spirit of inquiry. Education department chair and professor Doris Santoro said the award “serves two purposes”: to display to students “that great teaching is prized, valued, and admired at Bowdoin,” and to convey to educators “that we cannot do this important work without them.”
The award was presented on Thursday, November 2 at a dinner with all the participants from the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education conference hosted at Bowdoin, as well as with Michele Moses, the 2017 Brodie Family Lecture speaker. Nominations for recognition are submitted by former Bowdoin Teacher Scholars; one former Bowdoin Teacher Scholar who nominated Wilson is Rhodes Scholar Willy Oppenheim ’09. Though Oppenheim could not travel to the presentation itself, he made a video speech for the guests and for Wilson to watch.
Looking big picture, Oppenheim recognized that educators “have a lifetime of work to do… And embracing that journey, that is something that Rick models every day.” Specifically, he said, Wilson is “an educator in the fullest sense of trying to educate the whole person” and of “living his own truth in everything he does.” Referencing the education department’s second core value, Oppenheim noted that “[Wilson] really embraces that dialectic of theory and practice, reflection and action.” In terms of a spirit of inquiry, Wilson clearly embodies “not resting comfortable with any one set of answers but rather acknowledging complexity.”
Principal Crofton’s words were also shared: she described him as “one of the most generous, kind, and considerate people that I know.” She praised his work ethic and passion, and mentioned the “rich and meaningful community service program” Wilson helped develop at the high school. Rick Wilson says this program “leads the way in motivating students to contribute to the common good and our service learning experiences help frame the importance and impact of such work.”
Bowdoin is thrilled to present such an impactful educator with the first Education for the Common Good award. It is truly an inspiration to the community that Wilson strives to, in his own words, “help students cultivate purpose and passion while developing a deep sense of appreciation and empathy for the world around them.”