Fairport Harbor teacher receives Milken Educator Award Gazette Newspapers By Marian McMahon 12/5/19
FAIRPORT HARBOR – A school assembly at Fairport Harding High to welcome State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria Nov. 8 turned into a special surprise, especially for science teacher Nathan Yaussy.
Yaussy was one of 40 teachers nationally, and the only one in Ohio, to receive the Milken Educator Award which included a $25,000 cash award.
“The Milken Educator Awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987, recognizes teaching excellence publicly not only to inspire educators, but also students and entire communities about the importance of joining the teaching profession,” a press release stated.
The program was kicked off with a lively marching song courtesy of the Fairport Harding Marching Band while cheerleaders performed.
Katie Rumbarger, principal for the high school and middle school, addressed the assembly and introduced Fairport Schools Superintendent Dr. Domenic Paolo.
Paolo greeted staff, students and numerous guests, including DeMaria, who attended for the special presentation.
Dr. Candice McQueen, CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching spoke about education, the Milken Award and how it was comparable to an Oscar.
“I’m here today, at your school, to actually give one of those awards to one of your teachers,” she said.
When Yaussy’s name was announced following a drum roll, the cheers were loud and the applause thunderous.
“It’s good to know that what I’m doing means something,” Yaussy said.
Following the presentation, Paolo said, “I thought it was great to see a great teacher recognized, and the kids’ reaction certainly confirmed that it was a great choice.
“He has a way of making learning accessible to every child … He’s very capable of teaching in many ways.”
Paolo added Yaussy teaches classes on various levels from middle school to college level. He has been teaching at Fairport about seven years.
He said he was proud of so many of the district’s teachers and there were others he would consider deserving of such an award.
Students also had good things to say about the award winner.
“Mr. Yaussy’s a great teacher; he’s a really fun guy,” Joey Tanker said. “He turns a normal project into a good time by putting some fun into it.”
Sam Honkala said, “Mr. Yaussy makes everything seem more energetic and entertaining because he makes every single class fun.”
Ryan Heller said Yaussy was different.
“He makes sure you put effort into every project that he gives out, tries to make it fun for the students, and makes sure they kind of link with what students do in their everyday lives,” he said.
Devin LaFaye-England stated he had Yaussy for class last year.
“He is really passionate about what he does and he helps better humans for society, and he has some really cool projects, and he also has some human bones for science,” he said. “He’s a really great guy and I love him.”
Tyler Clasing said, “I thought this whole entire assembly was really cool. Congratulations to Mr. Yaussy for the prize. I think he really deserved it. He’s a really good guy.”
Asked how he felt about winning the award, Yaussy said, “Extremely excited. I’m still trying to process it.
“A big part of my philosophy is, ‘curiosity is job one.’ The information is out there, you can always find whatever information you want now, the trick is wanting to find it.
“If kids are excited to find how the world works, then they’ll find it, so my main goal is to make kids curious about how the world works,” he concluded.
PHOTO BY MARIAN MCMAHON
Fairport science teacher Nathan Yaussy, second from left, displays the check he was given along with the Milken Award Nov. 8 with help from Fairport Mayor Tim Manross, Fire Chief Robert Lloyd, Police Chief J.P. Leonard and Dr. Candice McQueen, CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.