Jim McGonnell named 2014 Teacher Inspiration Award winner

Jim McGonnell named 2014 Teacher Inspiration Award winner

The Journalism Education Association has named Jim McGonnell, former student media adviser at Findlay (Ohio) High School, as its 2014 Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award winner. This award recognizes a journalism teacher who through excellent instruction inspired others to pursue scholastic journalism teaching and/or advising.

McGonnell advised the Blue & Gold newspaper at Findlay for 35 years, and the publication became one of the most honored in the nation, earning numerous National Pacemaker awards from the National Scholastic Press Association, Crown awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and literally hundreds of individual honors at the state and national levels. He also began the school’s often-honored broadcast program.

He inspired his daughter Courtney to become a publication adviser. She writes in her nomination letter: “He created an environment where excellence was expected and throughout his 35 years of advising he inspired students to be more than they thought possible.”

McGonnell has influenced both students and fellow teachers through his workshop teaching and inspiration through the years. Renee Burke, MJE, adviser at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Fla., pointed out his ability to make learning fun and to inspire students and advisers even after his retirement to Florida in 2012.

Jack Kennedy, MJE, wrote that it’s not possible to ever know how many young advisers he has inspired and supported. “If there is a finer, more genuine laugh in scholastic media, I have never encountered it,” wrote Kennedy. “And that laugh represents the sort of joy in our work that has inspired, and will inspire, advisers for years to come.”

McGonnell will receive his award in July during the JEA Advisers Institute in Las Vegas, where he also will address the advisers in attendance.

The Journalism Education Association Inc. is the only independent national scholastic journalism organization for teachers and media advisers. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

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