The Journalism Education Association is recognizing Brenda W. Gorsuch, MJE, of Mills River, North Carolina, as the 2018 Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award recipient.
During her 35 years teaching and advising, and in her tenure as a mentor, Gorsuch has inspired numerous students and young teachers to pursue a career in scholastic journalism teaching and school media advising.
“When I was a high school journalist, I attended (Southern Interscholastic Press Association) conventions and Brenda Gorsuch sessions,” said nominator Leslie Dennis, director of media organizations at the University of South Carolina. “She intimidated me and awed me with her knowledge. When I started working in the scholastic press office as a college student, I was so nervous about working with THE Brenda Gorsuch. However, after spending time with her, I knew I found not only a mentor but a friend in Brenda.”
Gorsuch’s inspirational reach extends across the country, as she has worked with many states and on the national level to help spread her passion for journalism.
“I have learned much from Brenda,” said Mitch Ziegler, a California adviser who has taught workshops with her. “Our discussions about journalistic ethics, classroom procedure and yearbook coverage have made me a better adviser. I have learned even more in informal ways, she does not possess a self-aggrandizing bone in her body, and I have consciously attempted to imitate her.”
Although the award recognizes those who have inspired others to pursue journalism teaching as a career, Gorsuch’s impressions go beyond that. Recently retired from West Henderson High School in Hendersonville, North Carolina, she continues to serve as a mentor to her successor and teach at state and national conventions.
“Numerous students, teachers, scholastic journalism directors and staff members are better in their positions because of the inspiration they have gotten through Brenda Gorsuch’s role as a teacher,” nominators Beth Dickey and Karen Flowers, former SIPA directors, said.
During her career, her students won numerous top awards and Gorsuch was named JEA National Yearbook Adviser of the Year (2013) and Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year (2004).
Gorsuch will be honored in July at the JEA Advisers Institute in Las Vegas, where she will be invited to speak and inspire other journalism teachers.
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.