Typically, Eureka High School teacher and coach Farrell Shelton can be found in classrooms or sidelines cheering for students and athletes. But Tuesday morning, the situation was the other way around. Shelton was named a Peabody Energy Leader in Education for the 2012-13 school year, and awarded $1,000 for his compassion and commitment to students.
A gym, full of students and fellow teachers, awaited Shelton when he walked through the doorway, and was utterly "shocked" to discover the gathering was all for him. Even his wife, daughter, son and "Momma Shelton" were there to surprise him.
As a social studies teacher and head varsity football coach, Shelton encourages his students to become positive and compassionate leaders in the community, wrote those who nominated him for the award. His colleagues indicate Farrell makes everyone feel like they are part of the team, and invites students with developmental disabilities to participate in sports by helping to keep score or handing out water to players.
"He so deserves this award," said Eureka High physical education teacher and swim coach Sharon Wasson.
The Peabody Energy Leaders in Education program rewards dedicated education professionals—from teachers and coaches to librarians and counselors—who inspire and motivate youth to succeed. Award recipients are selected throughout the school year by a committee of top educators and business leaders.
“Farrell Shelton is a true leader in education who encourages his students to give back to the community,” said Vic Svec, senior vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Peabody Energy.
Maureen Moore, Peabody Energy Leaders in Education program director, said the company created the Leaders' program to give outstanding educators, such as Farrell, the recognition they deserve. Each week, Moore gets to surprise an educator in one of the five states in which they administer this program: Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana and Wyoming.
The Leaders' program was developed in Missouri in 2009, and company representatives say it reflects Peabody’s commitment to make a positive impact in the communities where the company’s employees live and work by honoring those who inspire students. The 2012-2013 award program is continuing to accept nominations, and is open to educational professionals of public, private and independent schools in designated communities where Peabody Energy employees live and work. Nominations may be made by clicking here.
Nominees must have a minimum of three years of full-time K-12 education experience.
Honorees are selected from a diverse group of educators. They can range from veteran teachers to individuals in support staff roles, such as administrators, coaches or counselors.