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Shanon Holt, 2020 Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching recipient

Shanon Holt
Shanon Holt, one of four teachers recognized this year with the Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching.

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 virtual winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 19. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching.

Shanon Holt, a family and consumer science teacher at Borah High School is one of the four recipients this year. She was nominated by her former student and Boise State teacher education senior Courtney Biagi. Each recipient was surprised in their classroom by their principal and presented with a plaque. A video of the surprises will be played at Boise State’s virtual commencement ceremony on December 19. Each teacher received $2,000 and their respective schools received $500.

In Holt’s child development class at Borah High School, nominator Courtney Biagi felt engaged in a way that made Holt’s classes stand out from other high school courses.

“Mrs. Holt is not only a brilliant teacher, but she creates a learning environment that welcomes everyone,” Biagi said. “She made all of her material relevant to our lives, even for those who weren’t necessarily wanting to pursue a career in early childhood education.”

Holt’s classes helped Biagi feel confident pursuing her lifelong passion for teaching early learners and prepared her for a career as an educator.

“Mrs. Holt was able to provide many meaningful and worthwhile experiences that helped me become more comfortable in teaching settings,” said Biagi. “Her class was always packed with activities that would help us gain skills needed not only for working with children, but that helped us in our everyday lives. She is still someone who I can go to with any and all questions regarding education.”

Alan and Wendy Pesky 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.

Learn more about the Pesky Award and see previous recipients