Florida Teacher To Be Inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame
CONTACT: NTHF Deputy Director Ken Weaver (620) 341-5660, firstname.lastname@example.org or Benny Valdes, Principal, (305) 643-3676, email@example.com
March 28, 2023- EMPORIA, KANSAS – A career teacher at Miami Senior High School was surprised at a faculty meeting this afternoon. Dr. Erick Hueck learned that he has been selected as one of only five career teachers across the nation to be inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023, the 31st class for the organization. Family members and friends joined in a celebration after the announcement. Benny Valdes, Principal, worked diligently to keep the event a secret until today.
A 34 year veteran of teaching, Dr. Hueck teaches Chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry to 9th through 12th graders since 1988 at Miami Senior High School when he started his teaching career. Dr. Hueck is the 13th teacher from Florida to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, joining Dana Kelly, Jane Bray Nelson, Ellen Kempler, Debi Barrett-Hayes, Vicki Swartz-Rosco, Kathleen McGrath, Jane Kozsoru, Dr. Joseph Underwood, Dr. David Lazerson, Linda Evanchyk, Dr. Mary Murray, and two teachers who are also inductees in the Class of 2023.
In June, Hueck will join four other teachers from Connecticut, Texas, and Florida for a series of recognition events in Emporia, Kansas, which include a livestreamed roundtable discussion, participating in community events, rededicating the National Memorial to Fallen Educators, and being honored at the induction banquet and ceremony. The five inductees will also be honored in May at a reception hosted by the National Education Association in Washington, DC as a follow-up to National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Benny Valdes, Principal, wrote: “Dr. Hueck is truly everyone’s teacher whether you are the AP student or the struggling student. Over the years, he has been at the core of helping many of our underrepresented students through high school and beyond. Erick is firm but empathetic; he wants all his students to learn. His personal initiative, energetic drive, and professional commitment are the hallmarks of his successful teaching career.”
Montserrat Paradelo, District Supervisor, noted: “Dr. Hueck immerses himself in teaching his students about the wonders and relevance of chemistry to the world around them. He is a dedicated and intelligent scientist and educator who leads and motivates with great compassion, creativity, and care. In the constantly changing world of Advanced Academics, his knowledge, leadership, and willingness to assist and guide is invaluable to all of us. He is available, patient, and supportive and establishes good will and growth among his peers.”
Colleague Yvette Greenspan wrote: “As the Chair of the Advanced Academics Department, he is committed to his students, mentors and guides them, and encourages them to reach their fullest potential. He encourages his colleagues to be innovative and creative and consistently supports their ideas in a positive and constructive fashion.”
Former student and a parent of current students Vicky Puentes reflected: “Dr. Hueck looks to see what his students do in their four years at Miami High and is conscious and active in many of their lives after graduation, always quick to congratulate them and support them in their ventures. He taught us to aspire to become and do the best. He taught us a love for taking our talents beyond the school and being active participants in our communities. I have the pleasure of saying that he has taught all three of my sons.”
Former student Carlos Salcerio observed: “Dr. Hueck transcends the conventional definition of teachers. He is unforgettable for students, not merely because of his excellent teaching, but because of his support of his students. He holds a special place in the heart of every graduate of Miami High who interacted with him.”
Dr. Hueck received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1987, his Master of Education degree from the University of Miami in 1990, and his Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2009.
Dr. Hueck received the 2011 Florida Governor’s Excellence in Education award. In 2013 the Florida Association of Science Teachers named him Outstanding Science Educator. In 2014, he received the Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Award from Amherst College for “challenging, inspiring, and moving members of Amherst College’s Class of 2014.” In 2022, he received the Yale Educator Award and the NEA California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence.
Erick describes his teaching style: “Over the years I have made it a point to ensure that all my students whether they want to pursue a career in STEM or not, leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of the subject, that it becomes accessible to them and that they understand that they too can grasp the concept. The creed I try to impart to all my students is ‘Learn for the love of learning’. Knowledge is one thing that can never be taken from the learner. My classroom is all about making Chemistry fun and accessible. Our inner-city students hold their own in competitions and represent us well because at our school and in my classroom inclusivity and acceptance of differences are embraced. Our melting pot of individuals brings a melting pot of ideas.”
The five educators to be inducted were selected for the Class of 2023 by a national selection committee which met in February. “The selection committee is composed of representatives from national educational organizations, corporate partners, and NTHF Membership. The committee evaluates the nominees on responses to questions regarding their professional profile, their teaching both inside and outside the classroom, educational issues and accountability,” said Ken Weaver, Deputy Director of the NTHF. “It is always a difficult decision because all twenty-four semi-finalists are deserving. The committee carefully examines what each candidate has done and is doing for the teaching profession as they try to determine finalists and then inductees. This is truly an honor to be named as one of only five teachers in the nation to be selected this year.”
The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in Emporia, KS in 1989 to honor teachers and the teaching profession through a recognition program and museum. Nominees must be certified public or non-public schoolteachers, active or retired, with at least 20 years of experience in teaching grades preK-12. Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 150 educators from 41 states and the District of Columbia have been inducted. This year's class of inductees represents the 31st anniversary of NTHF induction ceremonies when the Class of 2023 will be inducted. Inducted alphabetically, Dr. Hueck will be Member 152 in the Hall of Fame.
Some of the major awards each inductee will receive include: