April 18, 2013

Barile ’90 Honored with Inspirational Teacher Award

Nancy Barile '90, M.Ed. '93, longtime Revere High School English teacher and an adjunct professor in Emmanuel's Graduate Studies + Nursing program, was recently named one of six recipients of the 2013 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.

The awards, which come with a $10,000 grant, were created in 2010 in honor of American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday. They recognize teachers' extraordinary impact on the lives of their students, celebrate the teaching profession and seek to inspire others to pursue teaching as a career. Nominations come from former students, whose stories exemplify the power one teacher has to inspire others and transform lives.

Barile was nominated for the honor by Merzudin Ibric, whom Barile met in 2002 when he was a student in her sophomore English class. Ibric and his family had survived the Bosnian War and Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic's ethnic cleansing campaign against Muslims, arriving in the United States in 1998 to seek medical care for his sister.

"I wasn't interested in school; I planned to drop out and get a job," Ibric wrote in his nomination. "Then I met Ms. B. She asked me what my problem was. She said I was smart and I should be working harder."

With Barile's encouragement (and constant reminder, "You survived a war! This is a piece of cake!") Ibric did work harder, getting accepted to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and then to Wheaton College on a track scholarship. At Wheaton, Ibric made the Dean's List, became a five-time All-American in track and won two NCAA championships as well as the 2011 NCAA Inspiration Award. He now works for the U.S. government and has written a book about his experiences.

Based on Ibric's words, a panel chose Barile from hundreds of other nominations.

"I was shocked to win this award, and it truly means a great deal to me," Barile said. "It shows how teachers can truly impact their students' lives, and I am so very grateful. Merzudin has been just as inspirational to me. He shows how students can overcome a great deal of adversity and go on to achieve at the highest level. I'm very proud of all he has accomplished."

Throughout her esteemed 18-year tenure at Revere High School, Barile has received numerous honors, including the Emmanuel College Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. In 2006, she was awarded one of six Bob Costas Grants for the Teaching of Writing from the College Board, a recognition that garnered her a selection to the National Commission on Writing. The following year, USA Today named her one of 20 accomplished teachers nationwide, leading to discussions with Oprah Winfrey regarding Barile's interest in expanding Winfrey's South African educational program. In 2010, Barile was chosen as one five writers for Scholastic, Inc.'s "Classroom Solutions" blog, an online resource center for teaching tips and strategies for pre-K through grade 12 educators. She was selected from a nationwide pool of a 1,000 elementary and secondary teachers.

A quote from Barile on the Kennedy Center website epitomizes the characteristics and qualities that have made her a celebrated and effective educator.

"I became a teacher because I want to challenge, inspire and motivate my students to achieve their wildest dreams. I want to let learning transcend the walls of the classroom to include lessons and experiences from the real world. I believe that all students can achieve, and helping to make that happen is my life's goal."

To read Ibric's nomination in full, click here.