WMU News

Alumnus Bill Cecil is Michigan Teacher of the Year

May 27, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University graduate William R. Cecil, a teacher in the Waverly Community Schools since 1986, has been selected by the Michigan Department of Education as the state's Teacher of the Year for 2003-04.

A resident of Mason, Mich., Cecil is a fifth-grade teacher at Waverly Intermediate School, where he teaches general education, focusing on language arts and social studies. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from WMU in 1986 and has done graduate studies at WMU, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

By coincidence, the announcement of the state's Teacher of the Year award to a WMU graduate was made within days of the 100th anniversary of the University's founding as a state teachers college, May 27, 1903.

While at WMU, Cecil was a four-year letter-winner on the men's varsity soccer team, 1981-84, and was a co-captain of the team during his senior season. He says his experience as an instructor at WMU-sponsored youth soccer camps ignited his interest in teaching.

Chosen from among more than 20 regional semifinalists statewide, Cecil was informed of his award by Tom Watkins, state superintendent of public instruction.

"In his application, supervisors and staff members told us that Bill has a passion for making a difference in the lives of his students," Watkins said. "His proven skills as a teacher, mentor, and creative leader make him the perfect ambassador for the teaching profession in Michigan."

The Department of Education has used this award annually since 1980 to honor Michigan's exemplary educators. As part of the award, Cecil will serve as a staff member for the Department of Education during his tenure as Teacher of the Year.

"Michigan's Teacher of Year serves as a guidepost for all of us," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm. "The Michigan Teacher of the Year represents the tens of thousands of phenomenal teachers who are giving their professional lives in service to molding the minds of our children. We are thrilled to welcome Bill Cecil as this year's shining example of a high quality Michigan teacher."

From 1989 to 2001, Cecil also was a member of the Theater Department at Lansing Community College, where he taught improvisation and introduction to acting.

Cecil is a member of the Waverly Education Association, the Michigan Education Association, the National Education Association, and has served on the Waverly Community School District's Staff Development/Evaluation Team. He was selected for inclusion in the Who's Who Among America's Teachers in 2000, and was recognized by the Ingham Intermediate School District as a master teacher in 2001 and 2002.

Deborah J. (Mack) White, a 1976 graduate of Western Michigan University, was the 2002 Teacher of the Year for the state of Oregon.

Related story
WMU graduate named Oregon's top teacher

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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