The National Coalition for Public School Options has announced its national winner of the 2012 American Pioneer of Teaching Award, Ohio Finalist and WWE supporter, Paul Wulff!
Launched in April, more than 900 candidates of teachers who work in the virtual or online environment were nominated by colleagues, students and parents. After a national board narrowed down the field to 19 nominees for the prestigious national award, the winner was chosen through the voting process on Facebook.
Ohio Virtual Academy’s Wulff exemplifies teachers who have changed students' academic lives. A High School Intervention Specialist, Wulff's goal is to bring the “fun” back into education by the use of WWE, music, sound effects, comics and his creative educational board games in his online classroom.
One parent said: “My daughter hated to read … that changed when she started to attend Mr. Wulff’s class. She read aloud a few times, and he praised her, and slowly her confidence grew.”
The parent explained that her children have enjoyed the innovative games and learning techniques Wulff utilizes in his class, and his use of WWE entrance themes in the session explains his personality perfectly.
“You can see that he loves what he does and the students really reflect his personality,” the parent said. “The Miz’s theme also fit because his games were the groundwork in his sessions becoming popular in which students came to play and review for tests.”
In July, Wulff went to Washington to accept the national award and showcased an online demonstration inside the Capitol, walking attendees through a standard Modern World History class, allowing those in attendance to observe an online lesson through the eyes of both a teacher and a student.
“If you are not laughing or applauding by the end, there is something wrong,” Wulff explained to parent advocates, coalition members and Congressional representatives.
“They wanted me to show them what I do and I did just that. The WWE entrance theme music, board games, all of it was there. I was humbled, nervous and amazed that I did this inside the Capitol.”
After the online demonstration wrapped up, attendees, including education staffers representing 20 Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle, heard from Wulff along with four other board members in a panel on the importance of online learning, what led them to choose online learning for their children and the benefits of this educational option.
“Our school is not a place where a student can eat pizza and play video games all day with no accountability," Wulff said. "It is a safe haven where students can be free of bullying, the child prodigies can stay focused on their skills and military families can travel with their school laptop wherever they go and never miss a day."
“My hope is that we have be a STAR involved with our school, which was created by WWE, because bullying doesn’t end in the virtual world, we have to deal with cyberbullying, too.”
Finally, Wulff said this about his momentous win: “I wanted to thank everyone from my professors at Kent State University to the school systems who took a shot with me, my wife and children and my parents, especially my father who introduced me to WWE.
“If it was not for WWE, I would not have the rapport I have had with my students all these years. The ‘healthy discussions’ about John Cena, CM Punk and D-Generation X helped me open the door into their own lives, gaining their trust and ultimately seeing the best in their ability to show what they know.”