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Andy Bolen- Wallace Stegner Academy

The following was submitted by Christina King.

“I am honored to nominate Mr. Bolen for the Teacher Feature award, and also would like to mention his wife in this, who works as a teacher at the same school. They are an amazing team and are equally inspiring as they work together to inspire their students.

Starting with Mr. Bolen, he is absolutely one of the most inspiring teachers I have ever crossed paths with. He teaches with such creativity, competence, genuine interest in the students, and effectiveness that his class soars above the rest each year, even students that come with challenges. Our family has a large history of anxiety disorders that have been crippling at times as to my children’s school experience. My oldest son had to attend online school at home for the last two years because of this and just this year decided to try and go back to traditional school. I do not hesitate to say that he has been more than successful, mainly to the credit of Mr. Bolen. He took my son under his wing from the moment we met him, and has turned him into my happiest student. My son actually tries to find excuses to stay at school longer now, rather than doing the opposite only a few months ago. My son is not alone in this, Mr. Bolen has had the same effect on many many other families that we know and there are only instant smiles and inspiring stories told when his name is mentioned.

I have attended many field trips with Mr. Bolen’s class and am completely impressed by how he treats the students as a whole. He sets high, but attainable expectations, and respectfully and effectively pushes to them to meet them. He allows them the freedom to explore and learn and demonstrate that they can earn the appropriate level of trust he gives them. He has this down to such an art, it just seems to come naturally in all he does. He brings in learning activities and projects that are so creative and effective, teaches way beyond just the core subjects and just makes his class want to be better people in general. In all, he builds each student’s self esteem in every interaction and helps them want to succeed in all they do. He goes above and beyond, and has even recently arranged a Saturday study session, complete with his amazing pancakes, for any student who needs extra help, and no, he is not paid for this, he just wants his students to succeed.

I cannot speak of him without talking about his amazing partner in crime, his wonderful wife, Mrs. Bolen. My youngest son has had the opportunity of having Mrs. Bolen as a teacher this year. Mrs. Bolen is not a step behind her husband in any way and is completely as inspiring as he is. She has gone completely above and beyond to help my son feel cared for, and in helping him with his particular difficulties, and in supporting him in and outside of class. She has called us during the day if he is not there just to check on him, and is consistently giving him every opportunity to feel valued, actively learn and be a leader in every way she can find.

She is completely caring and completely competent, also showing each student that she comes in contact with that she very much wants them to succeed. This couple makes the perfect pair and I am guessing their dinner conversations are centered around how to inspire their students, because they certainly do! Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Bolen for the profound, lifelong effect you have had on our family, and so many others.”