“There are very few elements in life that are fixed–money, health, relationships, employment, fame, talent, and material possessions can all fluctuate drastically. Education however, is one of life’s most precious resources as it not only serves as a vehicle for upward mobility but as a fixed component in the physiological fabric of an individual. One’s education cannot be bought, sold, stolen, given up, or imitated–education is authentic, education is forever. I feel truly blessed each and every day that I get the opportunity to be a part of my students’ development of their own education for I know that I am helping them acquire one of life’s rarest commodities.” –Will Chervenak
Mr. Wil Chervenak teaches English language arts and physical education to ninth graders at Soldotna Prep School. He has been a teacher for five years, all in Alaska.
Before moving to Soldotna, he taught in the small, rural community of Ambler, located above the Arctic Circle. Teaching in a small Alaska community that experiences long, dark, very cold winters is unlike teaching anywhere else in America and imparts valuable lessons for a teacher. In addition to the opportunity teach classes like Iñupiaq studies is the lesson that building strong personal relationships is vital.
He states: “My teaching style can be described as accessible and personal. I try my hardest to meet the students where they are and build on skills that they bring to the table.” Mr. Chervenak believes that, in order to motivate students, they have to know their teacher has their best interests at heart. So, by taking the time to learn something special about each student, he achieves a middle ground, which acts as the vehicle to gain trust.
“This lets them know that we are in this together,” he says. “I love what I do, and that passion permeates everything I do in the classroom.”
One of his students says: “He makes this school more fun and enjoyable. He is very philosophical and makes sure we think about stuff. He doesn’t share any views with us, like religion or politics, so he can keep it fair.”
Mr. Chervenak is a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership team and helps steer the instructional direction of the school.
He also has coached a wide variety of sports, including cross-country, wrestling, baseball and Native Youth Olympics. But he also leads the far more cerebral Poetry Out Loud Club, Native Youth Leadership and After School Tutoring. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s in education in secondary teaching, at Eastern Washington University. He also just graduated with his Master’s in Education in educational leadership in April with a 4.0 GPA.
Mr. Chervenak brings a lot to Soldotna Prep. A student writes, “He actively tries to help, and makes sure his students are on task yet having fun with their work.” Beyond helping to lead the instructional direction of the school, he states that he is proudest of the positive, healthy relationships he’s maintained with his students and their families, as well as being a fundamental component in over 300 students gaining college entry. That’s certainly something to be proud of.
“As the principal at Soldotna Prep School, I have worked with Mr. Chervenak for four years,” said Curt Schmidt. “He is very dependable, trustworthy, and sincere in every effort he undertakes. He always maintains a professional attitude, works well with a variety of students and colleagues, and is very flexible in taking on teaching assignments and other duties as requested. Mr. Chervenak is highly organized, communicates clearly, and most importantly, keeps what is best for students in mind at all times.
Mr. Chervenak has gained extensive knowledge in collaborative practices, built a large toolbox of best teaching practices, and has substantially increased his leadership abilities, with the goal of continual improvement always being foremost in his mind. He also helps administration with substitute duties while they are out of the building with high levels of success. He thinks well on his feet and can make adjustments easily. I am confident that Mr. Chervenak is deserving of this award.”
“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”
Congratulations, Will Chervenak, BP Teacher of Excellence.
- Celebrate Jen Booz, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Wil Chervenak, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Carlyn Nichols, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Staci Wells, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Robanne Stading, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year
- Celebrate Aaron Gordon, 2018 Kenai BP Education Ally