Wesleyan President Dr. Joel Thierstein Joins General Colin Powell, Ken Burns, and Others for Tribute to Teachers

Buckhannon, WV—West Virginia Wesleyan College President Dr. Joel Thierstein joined General Colin Powell, filmmaker Ken Burns, several Hollywood figures and other educators around the country in a special 30-minute Explanation Kids’ Get Happy Hour tribute to teachers on May 5.  

The Get Happy Hour featured appearances from major public figures including General Powell, Burns, and Hollywood figures like Gabrielle Ruiz, DeVon Franklin, and Dulé Hill, along with a cast of teachers who told their stories about how they are keeping their students connected and encouraged during this pandemic.  The event was live streamed across all Explanation Kids’ and TIME for Kids social media platforms.

The goals of the event were to raise awareness on the innovative and committed ways teachers are engaging and empowering kids virtually and to provide teachers with a platform to share best practices as they continue to work across different ecosystems of distance learning.  The event, created by Michelle Millben, CEO and founder of Explanation Kids, was designed to raise $1 million for teachers by the May 5 National Teacher Appreciation Day.

“National Teacher Appreciation Day is more than just saying we appreciate teachers,” stated Millben.  “It’s about showing how much we appreciate their frontline service to our communities.”

Dr. Thierstein has served as Wesleyan’s President since July 1, 2017.  With over 25 years of service as an educator, he has established a national reputation as a distinctive leader in higher education.  

Wesleyan’s Education Program, which is one of the school’s three oldest majors, has prepared graduates to become outstanding teachers, coaches, school and senior administrators. Many Wesleyan alumni have been honored as Teachers of the Year, including most recently, Erin Anderson ‘99 of Upshur County and Adam Loudin ’07 of Lewis County.  In March, James “Jimmy” Ball ’91 was honored as the Charles County, MD Teacher of the Year and Laura Leister-Burkhalter ’11, M.Ed. ‘12 was selected as the Martin County, FL recipient.

In addition to these honorees, Brian Allman ’07, a social studies teacher at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School was West Virginia’s 2019-2020 Milken Educator Award in October.  That award is known as the “Oscars in Teaching,” and is considered the most distinguished education award in the nation.

Last spring, Wesleyan was one of 42 schools in the nation to receive accreditation for their educator preparation programs (EPP) by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).  The CAEP Accreditation Council’s review brought the total to only 238 schools approved under the rigorous Teacher Preparation Standards.  Among the 42 schools who received accreditation along with Wesleyan were Duke, Loyola University of Chicago, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, and the University of Virginia.

Wesleyan offers majors in Elementary Education (K-6), Music Education (Pre-K-Adult), English Education (5-Adult), Math Education (5-Adult), Social Studies Education (5-Adult), and Special Education Multi-categorical (K-12). For more information about West Virginia Wesleyan College, go to www.wvwc.edu

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