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Furman awards Childers Teaching Excellence Award to two 2015 graduates

Mary Varley, a first-year third grade teacher at Anderson Mill Elementary School in Spartanburg District 6, and John Morrison, a social studies student teacher intern at Berea High School in Greenville, have been named recipients of the 2015 Childers Education Foundation Teaching Excellence Award from Furman University.

Both Morrison, a history major, and Varley, an education major, graduated from Furman in 2015.

Mary Varley and John Morrison graduated from Furman in 2015.

A committee of Furman faculty, along with school administrators and mentor teachers who worked closely with award nominees, used three main criteria in selecting the winners:  love of content, love of teaching and love of student.

Both Morrison, a history major, and Varley, an education major, graduated from Furman in 2015.

Furman President Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean John Beckford, Ph.D., along with family, friends, faculty, mentors and administrators, attended the conferral ceremony and special reception on Dec. 9.

The $1,500 award was established in 2009 by Marybeth Bunting Childers ’80, an education major at Furman who founded two schools and was named North Carolina Teacher of the Year, and her husband, Alfred Childers ‘80, a former member of Furman’s Board of Trustees.

“Mary Varley and John Morrison are exceptional and inspiring teachers,” said Hecker. “With never-ending energy, they engage their students in meaningful and well-developed lessons; they care for their students’ growth and well-being; they bring honor to Furman and to the teaching profession. We are proud to honor their accomplishments.”

“Building positive and respectful relationships with my students is my number one priority. When my students walk in the room it is my goal to start their day on a positive note and to give them all of my energy so that they can feel safe and ready to learn with me,” said Varley, who teaches English language arts and social studies. “I am excited to start every day not knowing exactly what challenges I may face, working through problems to find solutions and seeing that light bulb go off for my students.”

Morrison has done “a phenomenal job of engaging students and incorporating a variety of teaching practices in each class,” said Thomas Looper, Sr., social studies department chair at Berea High School. “His love of content, teaching and his students was exemplified in his enthusiasm, attention to detail and creativity. I realized quickly John’s professionalism and passion for not only social studies but for the students in his class.”

Previous award winners include Alyssa Cameron, Amy McGreevy and Alison Williams in 2014, Caroline Lambert and Julie Jarriel in 2013, Alison Harwood and Matt Casella in 2012, Lara Savitz and Carol Ann Denyer in 2011, Katharine Hsu and Megan Schonhar in 2010, and Laura Jill Johnson and Phillippa Marion Maroney in 2009.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-24-3107.

Last updated August 5, 2022
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director