Kneale and Wandel Named Davis Award Winners

The Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to Tara Kneale, Upper School, and David Wandel, Middle School, at the end-of-year faculty celebration luncheon today.

Tara Kneale has taught Upper School English at Episcopal for more than 15 years. Her nominations for the award praised her interactions with her students and her willingness to go beyond what is expected of her.

“This teacher takes all students’ performance deeply to heart. Being empathetic with students, feeling their victories and struggles keenly, and being able to interact and provide students feedback with both grace and attention to detail.”

“This teacher is a wonderful educator. Humble, kind, and dedicated, with a servant’s heart and a smile for everyone every day. As a mentor, this teacher made it a point to check in on me throughout my first year, even when my classroom was nowhere near this teacher’s room.”

“This teacher is the epitome of what the Davis Award recipient should be: “consistently and unselfishly” going “above and beyond” normal expectation of time, energy, and devotion.” Students always come first to this person’s classroom and this teacher looks at each one as an individual, has love and empathy for them that bridges any gap that exists in their learning.”

Dave Wandel teaches science and has been a member of the Episcopal community for more than five years. His nominations noted his ability to engage his students.

“This teacher impresses me with enthusiasm for their subject matter. When it comes to classroom management, this teacher is, in some ways the “anti-teacher”: specifically, whereas some may believe a “teacher of the year” type must be a dynamic and charismatic personality, this teacher shows that consistency and sincerity carries the day when it comes to enduring respect and love from one’s students.

“As I walk by this teacher’s classroom, the students are always engaged in whatever activity is going on.”

“This person has a subtle and quiet way of showing that innovation and change is not something to fear but rather to embrace. This teacher’s approach to teaching is “hands on” and student-centered, while also having a playful side. That playfulness and enthusiasm acts as a lure to engage kids in the act of discovery. This teacher takes work seriously, but is always willing to try new things and incorporate innovative methods into their teaching.”

Established in 1992, the Davis Awards for Excellence in Teaching are presented each year to selected Episcopal School of Jacksonville teachers who personify quality in their teaching and in their influence on student learning; who consistently and unselfishly go above and beyond normal expectation of time, energy and devotion in working with students; who demonstrate the rare ability to motivate students to higher and higher levels of achievement; and who have consistently made use of opportunities for continuing education to improve themselves professionally. This award is intended to inspire all Episcopal teachers to pursue uncompromising excellence and caring in the classroom.

Staff Service Awards
The faculty and staff members listed below celebrated special anniversaries and were also honored during the luncheon.

5 Years
Mark Brunell
Nick Crider
Sam Geisler
Melanie Hicks
Rebecca Hoadley
Lucy Lee
Dayna Perret
Andrea Riemersma Merkison
Teresa Seagle
Jhan Shaaber
Robb Smith
Marcus Wells

10 Years
Diane Bates
Stephanie Brown
Lara Duguid
Brian Francois
Missy Ketchum
Philippa Marks
Andrea Rizzi
Eric Stanley
Frank Talan
Danielle Waler

15 Years
Kelly Hoyt

20 Years

Andrew Deskins
Annetta McCoy
George Terre

25 Years
Pat Crandall

40 Years
Barbara Benham