Emily Serway, an art teacher at Deering High School, is this year’s winner of the Russell Award. Serway was recognized for her achievement by Deering Principal Alyson Dame and fellow teachers at a special event at the school on April 13.
The Russell Award is an honor bestowed upon one teacher each year who exemplifies a firm commitment to the teaching profession, shares a love for learning with their students, demonstrates intimate involvement in the ongoing life and activities of Deering High School, and displays creative self-renewal in their teaching practices.
Serway was nominated and selected for this award by her fellow teachers. The following is a summary of why her colleagues nominated her for the award:
"Emily Serway's room is a haven for our students, and some staff. A student recently coined the motto "Serway for sanity!" because of the calming mental health effects her classroom has on him and his classmates.
She also makes our school a more beautiful place - multiple recent murals brightening up our school are either here because she helped students get grants, or because she herself painted them (Be kind! All One School).
She brings her skills, joy, creativity, and heart to our drama program, empowering students to create imaginative sets and advocating for our burgeoning drama program
Emily is a rock for ALL our students, she supports them in taking risks and challenges them to push their art to the next level. But she is so much more than that - she is a giant hug; the love, support, and understanding that she gives to our students make her an essential fixture for our Deering community."
Her colleagues noted how Serway's positive influence extends beyond her own classroom.
"Her outstanding achievements as an art teacher and her exceptional contributions to Deering High School have truly made a difference in the lives of our students and the overall school community. Her passion for teaching and her ability to inspire a love for learning in her students is commendable, and we are proud to have her as a part of our team.”
Each year, the University of Southern Maine, under the auspices of the Walter E. Russell Chair in Philosophy and Education, honors a Deering High School teacher for excellence in teaching with the award. Recipients are chosen by their colleagues. Walter E. Russell was principal of Gorham Normal School, a teachers’ college that eventually merged into the institution now known as USM, from 1906 to 1940. A preacher and educator born in Fayette, Russell died in 1948. Concerned about the lack of qualified schoolteachers in Maine during the 1930s, Russell emphasized building up a source of quality teachers for the state.
Learn more in the Deering High School newsletter.