Drury M.Ed. Graduate Honored for Excellence in Teaching

Stefanie Virgen, a Master in Education graduate of Drury University, was presented with an Emerson Excellence in Teaching award at a ceremony in St. Louis on November 13. Virgen was honored for her vital role in shaping students’ lives and her dedication to the field of education, according to Emerson.

Virgen is a Language Arts and Challenge instructor at Washington (Mo.) Middle School, where she teaches eighth grade college and career exploration, seventh grade English, eight grade gifted, and seventh grade gifted. She is also the Washington School District’s Environmental Club sponsor, Honor Society co-sponsor, PBS Leadership team chairperson and serves on a number of committees in the district.

“I was stunned to receive this award and feel greatly humbled,” Virgen says. “The bright professionals I work with reflect their light on everyone around them, and I'm the recipient of that shared vision and enthusiasm."

Virgen graduated from Drury in 2008 with an emphasis in gifted education. Gifted education is one of six Master's in Education degrees at Drury that can be completed entirely online. The others are online teaching, instructional leadership, instructional technology, special education and integrated learning. 

“Drury University's graduate education programs focus on advancing the teaching and pedagogical skills of practitioners,” says Shannon Cuff, Dean of the School of Education and Child Development at Drury. “Our goal is to help make good teachers even better. We are proud of Stefanie's accomplishments as a middle school educator and wish her continued success.”

Virgen was one of 109 St. Louis-area educators honored at the ceremony.

“Emerson is proud to recognize educators in the St. Louis area who show an unwavering commitment to the successful futures of their students,” says David J. Rabe, Emerson Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We are delighted to celebrate the vital role of our community’s inspiring educators in this annual awards program.”

Award recipients will have the opportunity to apply for a Gold Star Grant from Emerson, to be presented in spring 2018. Honorees from this year and the past five years are eligible to apply for the competitive grants, which are designed to fund educational projects that reflect the pillars of the Emerson brand – technology, innovation and leadership. Since 2006, Emerson has awarded $555,000 to area teachers and schools through the Gold Star Grant program.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program began in 1989 and is sponsored annually by Emerson, a global technology and engineering leader headquartered in St. Louis.