Published: Sept. 6, 2017

Bill McGinelyWith a theme centered around the joy of teaching, CU Boulder celebrated excellence in education by recognizing four faculty members — including Bill McGinley, associate professor of education — K-12 teachers, and graduate students with Best Should Teach Awards on Aug. 31.

The late lifelong educator Lindley Stiles and his wife Marguerite Stiles established the Best Should Teach Initiative in 1996, and Stiles’ inspiring motto is inscribed on the School of Education Building: “To those who come, I leave the flame! Hold it as high as you can reach. If a better world is your aim, all must agree: The Best Should Teach.”

The 2017 Best Should Teach Gold Awards for faculty honored: Priscilla Craven, senior instructor of French and Italian; Tarek Sammakia, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Celeste Montoya, associate professor of Women and Gender Studies and director of the Miramontes Arts & Sciences Program; and Bill McGinley, associate professor of education and literacy studies.

In addition, the awards also recognized 48 graduate student teachers and four public teachers from our partner districts. All awardees were selected for their embodiment of the beliefs, behaviors, and skills of exemplary teachers, such as:

  • Believes all students can learn and is dedicated to meeting each student’s unique needs,
  • Maintains professionalism as a lifelong learner and reflective practitioner,
  • Exhibits expert instructional skills and a high level competency in his/her subject areas, and
  • Gives back to the teaching profession by mentoring others, partnering with parents, and collaborating with colleagues to formulate instructional policy and staff/curriculum development.

Best Should Teach teachersThe 2017 teacher honorees from local school districts include:

  • Jennifer Dixon, Boulder Valley School District, Monarch High School, Louisville
  • Angela Jacobson, Denver Public Schools, Henry World Legacy Middle School, Denver 
  • Janelle Payne, School District 27J, North Elementary, Brighton
  • Jenny Rhoadarmer, St Vrain Valley School District, Westview Middle School, Longmont

The keynote speaker Thomas Cech concluded the evening with his sincere talk about how his role as an educator has informed and enriched his well known research. Cech, a distinguished professor of chemistry and Colorado’s first Nobel Prize Laureate, teaches undergraduates in a general chemistry course and in his research lab. He explained how his work with students gives him a new lense on his research and helps him translate his work for broader audiences — a handy tool for the 100+ lectures he has delivered locally and internationally throughout his career. 

The Best Should Teach initiative is managed by the Graduate Teacher Program in coordination with the School of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School. To learn more about the initiative, visit

 View the photo album here.

 Watch the keynote address