Claes Nobel Educators of the Year
NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2013 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education, as well as community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 38,000 educators worldwide.
Mr. David Quinn
Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edmonds, WA
Mr. David Quinn was recently honored at the NSHSS member event held at The Carter Center in Atlanta as one of the 2013 Top Ten Claes Nobel Educators of the Year. He has also been awarded the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award, the US Presidential Scholar Program’s Teacher Recognition Award, and Northwestern University’s “Distinguished Secondary Teacher in America” Award. Mr. Quinn has earned an array of educational and business accolades that reflect his exceptional achievements in the arts, entrepreneurship, and academics throughout the past four decades.
Following his acquisition of a Bachelor of Arts in English/Anthropology and a Master of Education degree from the University of Washington, Mr. Quinn served as the Lead Teacher in Senior English, the Chair of the English Department, the Academic Advisor for the National Honor Society, and as a member of the District Budget Advisory Council. He is currently the International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator as well as the Lead Instructor in IB Theory of Knowledge, a member of the Board of Directors for the 5th Avenue Theater, and a Digital Consultant for the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center. He is also a $550,000 earning grant writer for EWHS’s Department of Education-Smaller Learning Community. In addition to Mr. Quinn’s illustrious professional career in academia, he began a 25-year-long career in film, television, and theater at age four, starring in the first two seasons of “Sesame Street.”
Every year on the last day of school, Mr. Quinn tells his students of his life-altering encounter with Ryan White, a hemophiliac who became the poster child for AIDS after contracting the virus from a blood transfusion. Ryan and Mr. Quinn had developed a friendship after collaborating on a show depicting Ryan’s experiences. After inquiring of Mr. Quinn’s happiness, the then 14-year-old Ryan encouraged Mr. Quinn to chase his dreams. Ryan had unfortunately become familiar with life’s fragility. Years later, following Ryan’s death, Mr. Quinn and his wife relocated, and he began his undergraduate studies. He was soon met with a proposal by a team of graduate students to invest in an internet company, which led to his monetary and eventually intellectual contributions. The team later created AllRecipes.com, which they sold to Reader’s Digest in 2006.
Mr. Quinn’s extraordinary life experiences serve as a catalyst for educating his students. Rarely standing at the front of his classroom, Mr. Quinn encourages his students to think critically and develop a genuine interest in their discussions. He explains that his “student-centered” teaching environment enables his students “to fly.” He elaborates, “To fly is to live your dreams and to transform yourself and the world in the same breath.” One of Mr. Quinn’s sacred rules is to “teach each student, not each lesson.” Most likely aware that Mr. Quinn donates his teaching salary to two local theaters, his nominating student endearingly writes, “Although Mr. Quinn could have easily retired, he took up high school teaching, a job that requires an incredible amount of time and effort and sometimes gives very little in return . . . He knows how much his students can achieve and asked us all to go out and do something good in this world. For his sake, as well as my own, I hope I will.”