Butler alumnus Mark Weaver was recently honored as one of only five educators in the nation to be inducted into the 2011 National Teachers Hall of Fame.
Weaver graduated from Butler in 1981 with a degree in botany and a certification in education. He also received his Master of Science in biology education from Butler in 1983.
Weaver is currently the science department chair at Clay Middle School in Carmel, Ind. He began teaching at the school in 1982 beginning a 29-year career with CMS.
Weaver was honored with the award at a surprise ceremony held at CMS, according to a press release. He will travel to Emporia, Kan., in June to attend an official ceremony.
“Weaver brings immense intellectual and personal energy to his classrooms,” said Jeff Swensson, superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools. “I am delighted to see his dedication, hard work and never-ending enthusiasm recognized nationally.”
Weaver said his motto in the classroom is to provide opportunities for students to learn and ensure those opportunities are even better the next time they come into the classroom.
“Don’t be complacent,” he said. “If you’re going to be complacent, you’d better find something else to do because education isn’t it.”
Weaver said he likes to think outside of the box rather than just being a “page-turner in a textbook.” He said he approaches the classroom believing that the true definition of science is the “discovery of anything and everything,” rather than just focusing on covering the state standards.
“It’s our job to teach the kids to the very best of our ability,” he said. “We do our best and wrestle with how to improve ourselves all the time.”
One of Weaver’s innovative ideas resulted in the renovated retention pond at CMS that he and his students worked to clear of trash and form into a habitat, complete with gravel pathways. It can be studied and has been used by the Department of Natural Resources as a workshop site.
He also has a “Survival Week” where the entire seventh grade traces survival techniques throughout history, from 1492 to 1816 when Indiana became a state.
“It’s great work,” he said. “It’s one of the best jobs you can have. I feel like I’m selfish because I’m learning from them everyday.”
Weaver said he can never thank Butler enough for the experiences and the quality of education he received.
“The No. 1 thing here is the passion for what they have and the passion for their students,” he said of his Butler professors. “That has never been something negotiable. The care and knowledge base the faculty brings in is unparalleled.”
During his collegiate years, Weaver said he was the bulldog mascot, a photographer for The Butler Collegian and The Drift, a member of Sigma Nu and worked in the greenhouse for the botany department.
He is currently on the College of Education Board of Visitors and was honored at their meeting last Thursday.
Weaver said the awards he has been honored with are a reflection of his students, colleagues and experience at Butler.
“This is an opportunity to represent those who are all a part of me and to be a voice in good positive education. It would never happen if it weren’t for my students,” he said. “The key to success is to be surrounded by good people and successful people—Butler is the epitome of that.”