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Steve Lewis, Professor of Speech Communication, has been selected by Three Rivers College as the 2021-22 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, Sheri Mitchell, Adjunct Instructor of Music, was named by the College as its Adjunct of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Lewis and Mitchell were honored at the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year Banquet on April 28.

“We’re proud to honor these educators who prepare the leaders of our community,” said Steve Halter, President of the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce. “We believe it’s important that education and business work together to train the future workers for our businesses.”

Lewis earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English and his Master’s Degree in Speech Communication and Theatre Arts from Arkansas State University. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“The greatest rewards in education occur with students in the classroom and in the support and camaraderie one receives from colleagues,” Lewis said. “I believe that the greatest validation an educator can receive is the acknowledgment of excellence by one’s peers. I’m honored and humbled to have been chosen by my fellow faculty members for the Excellence in Teaching award.”

Mitchell earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Music and Art from Southeast Missouri State University, and a Master’s Degree in Music Education with a specialization of Educational Theatre from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

“It is wonderful to be honored for my work here at Three Rivers College,” Mitchell said. “I have been dedicated to my students here and their success and encourage them to always do their best work–and I have tried to model that in everything I do. In many ways, to have your best work recognized validates your efforts, and I am grateful for that recognition!”

Lewis utilizes an entertaining, engaging, and instructive teaching style while maintaining high expectations for student performance. He has worked at Three Rivers College for more than 20 years while creating a warm, inclusive student environment.

“I watched as he brought roses for each of the basketball players in his class when they were on their way to the national tournament in 2021,” said Dr. Melissa Davis, Three Rivers Chair of Communications, Agriculture, Languages, and Fine Arts, who nominated Lewis. “He is one of the most professional, well-spoken, and intelligent faculty members we have on this campus and has represented Three Rivers well in the community, specifically in the Rotary Club.”

Mitchell has spent her career educating and empowering students through process-based education, equipping students to reach their potential and goals. Mitchell has been an educator and curriculum designer in art, music, and theater in Missouri, New Mexico, California, and Illinois.

She has taught elementary through College and has worked as a curriculum designer, director of group and corporate sales, and as an educational consultant with the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa, Calif. She created community musical theater organizations in Missouri and California that are still running decades after her guiding inspiration.

“Sheri Mitchell brings a wealth of training, including certifications and memberships in the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Music Educators National Conference, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Education Theater Association, and the International Thespian Society,” said Three Rivers Professor of Music Cindy White, who nominated Mitchell. “The students and faculty at Three Rivers College are fortunate to benefit from her unbridled zeal for arts education.”

Mitchell has served on a national arts education study group, been nominated as a “Golden Apple Teacher” in New Mexico, to “Who’s Who in American Teaching” while employed at St. Charles Community College in Missouri, and was nominated as Teacher of the Year at Ft. Zumwalt Schools in O’Fallon, Mo.

“We’re extremely proud of the work that Mr. Lewis and Mrs. Mitchell have done in our classrooms.  They both go above and beyond to ensure that our students receive a high quality education in a nurturing environment,” said Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College. “They are examples of the excellence all our instructors display and the kind of high-quality education that our students receive.”

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