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Taryn Waddell, 2019 Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching recipient

Boise State University’s College of Education and the Lee Pesky Learning Center will continue the annual tradition of honoring inspirational K-12 teachers at Boise State’s winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 21.

Taryn Waddell from Timberline High School in Boise, is one of the four recipients, and was nominated by Bella Zito. The awardees will be recognized on stage during the winter commencement ceremony. Each teacher also will receive $2,000 and their schools each will receive $500.

When Zito moved to a new high school, she was embraced by the community that Waddell created in her advanced placement English classroom.

“Mrs. Waddell shared her personal interests and outside activities and encouraged us to do the same, thus creating a community based classroom,” said Zito. “Mrs. Waddell’s passion for the curriculum and compassion for her students made me feel welcomed in her space and ready to learn. I appreciated her knowledge, quirky personality and enthusiasm for her students.”

According to Zito, Waddell took any failure her students encountered as a teaching moment to impart a simple but important life lesson: that students can use failure to improve the next time. Zito also remembers Waddell assigning meaningful classroom work, making her an effective educator whose passion for her subject came through in every assignment.

As Zito prepares to become a teacher, she admires the qualities Waddell exemplifies most, that of an “effective educator, a caring confidant and an overall student favorite,” Zito said. “I hope to model these same qualities in my own classroom.”

The Peskys founded the Lee Pesky Learning Center in 1997 in honor of their son Lee, who passed away in 1995 at age 30 from a brain tumor. As a child, Lee had to learn skills to overcome processing dysgraphia, a problem with organizing letters, numbers and works on a line or page. The nonprofit center, headquartered in Boise, serves mainly children and some adults with learning disabilities, as well as those from economically challenged homes. The center also provides educational services for Idaho teachers.

To see previous recipients and learn more about the awards, click on the link below.

Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching