Disney Teacher of the Year
award goes to WWC graduate
By: Kristi Spurgeon
A Walla Walla College graduate has been named 2005 Teacher of the Year at the annual Disney Teacher Awards.
David Vixie also won the award for Outstanding Middle School Teacher and was recognized from more than 50,000 nominees nationwide. Vixie teaches humanities to eighth-graders at Paradise Adventist Academy in Paradise, Calif., and was recognized for his exceptional creativity, innovative teaching style, and ability to inspire his students.
“I teach through a literary-rich, integrated curriculum, which communicates the importance of real reading and writing,” says Vixie. “Students interact with emotional commitment, realize their value, feel respected, and develop their potential.”
Finding themselves out on the trail in actual covered wagons, students in Vixie’s classes realize they will be doing far more than just sitting in a classroom. His history students take trips out on the trail in actual covered wagons, or learn about the World Wars with maps covering the entire classroom floor.
“The desks in Mr. Vixie’s classroom are seldom in the ‘standard’ classroom configuration,” says Tim Bair, Paradise Adventist Academy principal. “One day I walked into the classroom and all the desks had been moved to the side of the classroom and the room was filled with empty appliance boxes. The class was studying the depression in American history and this was their ‘shanty town’. Each student had his/her own box and this was their ‘living space’ the week or so they were studying the topic.”
Vixie was one of 45 exceptional teachers recognized by Disney. Each Disney Teacher Honoree receives $10,000 and a trip to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., for a week of fun and professional development. Disney also donates $5,000 to each of their schools. In addition, as Teacher of the Year, Vixie will receive an additional $15,000.
Vixie graduated from WWC in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and received his master’s degree from the college in 1983.
He has received six other national and state awards, including 2004 Wells Fargo Teacher of the Year, a Crystal Apple Award in 2004, and the Oregon California Trail Association Award in 1997.
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