Every day, teachers change the lives of the students in their classrooms. Today, , a third-grade teacher in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district, will also change the life of Keveka Williams, a Willoughby Hills resident, with a full-tuition scholarship to University of Phoenix.
Wester is one of more than 50 educators across the country recognized by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a 2010 State Teacher of the Year. Each year since 1952, students, teachers and administrators have nominated their favorite educators for this award, which is considered the oldest and most prestigious national program recognizing excellence in teaching.
To celebrate these achievements, University of Phoenix is providing every State Teacher of the Year recipient the opportunity to teach forward a full-tuition scholarship. The “Teaching it Forward” scholarship program was created by University of Phoenix in 2009. Teachers who have been selected as the 2010 CCSSO State Teacher of the Year may nominate a fellow educator, community member or high school senior who resides within the educator’s state for a full-tuition scholarship that can be applied to an undergraduate or graduate degree online or at any University of Phoenix local campus.
The 2010 Ohio Teacher of the Year, Wester, has chosen Williams to receive the full-tuition scholarship.
“I’m honored to celebrate being named Ohio Teacher of the Year with the gift of University of Phoenix’s Teaching it Forward Scholarship,” said Wester, 2010 Ohio Teacher of the Year. “Keveka’s zeal and determination to further her studies set her apart from other potential nominees.”
Williams, the scholarship recipient chosen by Wester, is pursuing a master’s degree in Health Administration/Education. Having already earned a bachelor’s degree in health education from Central State University, Williams decided to continue her education with the University of Phoenix because the breadth of programs allowed her to focus on what interested her most.
“I looked into other programs and decided on University of Phoenix because the program allows me to focus on both my passions: health care and education,” said Williams, an instructor for Medical Programs for Miami-Jacobs Career College in Independence. “My master coursework is applying directly to my current job and making me a better instructor.”
Born on her mother’s high school graduation day, Williams beat the odds for the child of a teen mom growing up in inner-city Cleveland and is now the first person in her family to earn her bachelor’s degree.
“In contrast to what is often expected of teen parents, my mom and dad worked together to make sure I reached my full potential,” explained Williams. “My mom and dad were married a few years after I was born and together they taught me to never give up on myself. My mom set a great example for me because she took steps to educate herself.”
William’s mom is now working on her bachelor’s degree, and her 20-year-old sister is also working to further her education with the encouragement of her big sister. Her father is a journeyman plumber educated through Cleveland State University’s plumbing department.
“When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, my mom was so proud,” said Williams. “She saw how hard I worked and realized she instilled that work ethic in me. Once she saw that I did it, she knew that it was possible for her.”
“For most teachers, changing a student’s path or opening a new door is the true reward of teaching,” said Dr. Meredith Curley, Dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix. “The University provides the ‘Teaching it Forward’ scholarships to thank the Teachers of the Year for their dedication by giving them an opportunity to profoundly impact the life of another individual. Congratulations to Natalie Wester for being named Ohio 2010 Teacher of the Year and to Keveka Williams for being chosen to further her education.”
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning can help students pursue personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit phoenix.edu.
CONTACT: Paige Boyer