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Jack Ellis wins the Kennedy Center, Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award

Mar 24, 2015

Jack Ellis, an active member of MEA-Retired, has just been named as a winner of the annual Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards.

The annual Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards publicly recognize specific teachers by spotlighting their extraordinary impact on the lives of students. The Awards celebrate the teaching profession, the important role of teachers in society, and seek to inspire others to pursue this noble profession. Nominated by students they once taught, these former students' stories exemplify the power one teacher has to inspire others and transform lives.  Read about the Stephen Sondheim Award by clicking here.

Mr. Ellis was nominated for this prestigious award by a former student, Cheryle Kahl, who is a 31-year veteran middle school teacher in the Chippewa Valley School District in Macomb County.  Ms. Kahl herself was a former Macomb County teacher of the year winner.  In her nominating essay, Ms Kahl was quoted stating:  The lessons I learned from Mr. Ellis formed the foundation for my own craft. My teaching norms are based on the mutual respect, I felt in that choir room. The knowledge that we all have value is the credo that shapes my interactions with the young people entrusted to my care. Mr. Ellis changed me.  He charged me with the task of finding the talents inherent in each of my students and actively doing something to help develop them.”  Read the complete nominating essay by clicking here

Mr. Ellis retired from the St Clair Lakeview Public Schools in 2001.  Jack taught choir, band, and orchestra while spending his entire career with the same school district.  Jack has been active in the MEA since 1973, and he continues to be a very active leader within MEA-Retired.  Mr. Ellis also serves as the choir director in his church.

Jack lives with his wife Joellen in St. Clair Shores and they are the proud parents of three sons.  Their middle son is a middle school teacher, their oldest is a professional cellist teacher at Cornell College in Iowa, while their youngest son works with a variety of rock and roll music groups.  The Ellis’ intend to use the substantial award money to take their entire family on a vacation.