Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award 2015 - Brandon Riley, GCAA
Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award 2015 - Brandon Riley, GCAA
Posted on 03/06/2015
GCAA logoBrandon Riley, a theatre arts teacher at Grand Center Arts Academy, a Confluence Charter School, can add a new accomplishment to his professional résumé – Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award 2015.

B Riley GCAAThe Missouri Association for Colleges of Teacher Education recognized 61 outstanding teachers for “excellence in serving children during their first two years of service in school districts.” MACTE honored the teachers at its spring conference on March 4. Thirty-six colleges and universities, public and private, recognized professionals who graduated from education programs at their respective schools. Award recipients were selected based on evaluations completed by their college or university, and recommendations from the school district “which deemed the teacher as highly effective in their first two years in the classroom.”

In a brief question-and-answer, Riley shared his thoughts on the experience:

When did you know that teaching was a career you wanted to pursue?

Several years ago, I was coaching football and tutoring/mentoring young men on a volunteer basis. I spent, on average, four hours a day doing this, in addition to my actual job. A friend of my said, ‘You seem to have a passion for helping young people, have you thought about being a teacher?’ I hadn’t really at that point. He then followed up with, ‘Why not?’ I did not have a legitimate answer for that and the passion was sparked!

How do you feel about being recognized by MACTE?

It truly is a humbling experience. I owe a lot to the students I’m lucky to work with every day, as well as the faculty here. My family, my mentors and my professors have all played huge roles in helping me get to this point.

What are 2-3 strengths that you think make you a strong teacher?

One of my main strengths is my genuine passion for this profession. My motivation is to truly help my students reach their full potential. Also, I have a great rapport with the students and I can connect with a variety of students on a variety of levels.

What advice would you give a new teacher to make him/her successful in the first years of their career?

I believe the best advice I can give a beginning teacher is to make sure that teaching is something you really want to do. You will have some challenging days, but holding on to the thoughts of why you do this will help you through those times.

A brief story about Riley's nomination as an Outstanding Beginning Teacher was published earlier in the week.