A Toledo educator, Jim Echtle, won the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award. This award is given by The National Society of High School Scholars. He was nominated by a student and received the news that he was recently selected to win the award. Jim Echtle is the teacher and sitting with him a few minutes, it is easy to see why. This is not the first time he has won the award, he won it 10 years ago as well.
Echtle is very humble, and you hear it when you talk to him. We wanted to know how he felt about winning the award again and he stated, "Like last time, it was a nice surprise. It's always an honor to be recognized."
You can tell Echtle is a great educator, he wants his students to excel. One of the important issues is that he wants his students to read. He stated, "I'm interested most in getting my students to improve their reading and writing skills. It's nice if they learn to enjoy it. I want them all to be good readers and writers as they grow into adulthood."
Toledo has been his home for over 2 decades as an educator. Many times, teachers move on after a bit, but Echtle has not. He has a love for Toledo and it shows. "Toledo is now, and has for 22 years, been an amazing place to work," he said. "My students are positive. Their pride in their school and community is evident. The staff I work with is amazingly skilled, kid-centered and cooperative. This community is very supportive of us. I have it good here. This is a great community to work in." Toledo has always been a great school and it shows in their school pride.
Toledo School has always had decent test scores for their students, they are not falling behind like other schools. Echtle states, "At Toledo High School, we've implemented several strategies to make students aware of what skills they will need to be successful on their state tests. As a staff we work together in order to try to meet the needs of each child in each classroom every day. At Toledo High School, I work to ensure that my 10th grade students are working toward improvement in reading and writing. I accomplish this by giving my students challenging materials to read and discuss, as well as opportunities to write both academically and creatively." It takes an educator like Mr. Echtle for students to see the benefits of reading and writing for years to come.
It's always been interesting to see what teachers could change, if they have the power to change one thing. Echtle took on the answer with great ideas. "That's a tough question," he answered. "Personally, I'm a strong believer in the idea of local control. For the past 28 years of my career, there seems to have been a significant increase of state and federal regulation of schools. Some of that regulation has helped small schools like mine, but most of it seems to have gotten in the way of kids learning. I'd like to see a change back to more local control of schools at the community level."
Echtle is the teacher that most would have wanted, he cares about his students while trying to show them what they can do. Toledo is very blessed to have a teacher such as Jim Echtle, his kindness and willingness to help shows through when he speaks. If he stays for another 10 years, no doubt he will win the award again. And it couldn't go to a more deserving teacher!