Schoonover Wins Excellence in Teaching Award
El Dorado Adventist School teacher Nancy Schoonover was awarded a 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award on Sabbath, May 25, at the Placerville church.
Schoonover was one of 12 teachers in North America chosen to receive the $1,000 award, bestowed by the non-profit Alumni Awards Foundation, whose aim is to promote excellence in Adventist schools.
"We are pleased that Nancy is receiving such appropriate recognition," said Northern California Education Superintendent Berit von Pohle. "She is an exemplary teacher who continually seeks activities and projects that will bring the curriculum to life for her students."
Schoonover has worked at EAS for 12 years, teaching kindergarten and various combinations of second, third and fourth grades. She currently teaches a class of third- and fourth-graders.
One of her favorite subjects is fourth grade California history, particularly because of the many field trip options within driving distance of Placerville, including visits to the gold discovery site at Coloma, the Mission San Francisco de Asis, and Angel Island.
Although she uses many of the "tried and true methods" of an experienced teacher, she admitted, "It's always fun to mix it up!"
EAS Principal Larry Ballew appreciates Schoonover's enthusiasm for adventure. "The sun never sets on Nancy's classroom!" he said. "One minute Nancy is teaching, the next she's marching on Angel Island with her little Union soldiers, on the Carson Pass with her Mormon Brigade, or coaching her runners for a cross-country meet."
Schoonover's zeal for California history extended into her summer vacation this year, when she and her husband visited all 21 California missions — 18 of them in only six days. "Such a teacher thing!" she called it with a laugh. "I really needed to see all of them so I can be more knowledgeable."
Sister and brother Cassidy and Daniel Wheelwright each had Schoonover as a fourth grade teacher. They both said that a highlight of their experiences was the overnight trip to Coloma, where they panned for gold, met interesting "characters" and sang songs around the campfire.
"She is compassionate and fun and really neat to be around," said Cassidy, now a fifth-grader. She remembers Schoonover's regular assignment to the class to make encouraging cards for people who were sick or sad.
"She is always thoughtful of other people's feelings," said Daniel, now a sixth-grader.
Schoonover said she enjoys teaching at a Christian school because she has the freedom to share her faith openly. "I like the fact that I can intertwine biblical principles and behavior principles and how they can all relate back to Christ and what He wants for us, how He wants us to live our lives."
She credits Ballew, the school staff, local church pastors and the community with enriching the lives of EAS students. "It's easy to be at your best here," she said. "Every single teacher here could get this award."