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Beverly Ann Chin

Beverly Ann Chin

An English professor at the University of Montana has been honored for her contributions to middle school education by a national teachers organization.

Beverly Ann Chin, who chairs the UM Department of English, has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Richard W. Halle Award for Outstanding Middle Level Educator, given out by the National Council of Teachers of English.

NCTE represents 30,000 teachers of English and language arts at all levels of education. The award, which has been presented since 1996, honors an educator who has worked to promote English studies at the middle school level.

Chin, the 1995 president of NCTE, said she is honored to be chosen as this year’s award recipient.

“I’ve always been committed to middle level education,” she said. “It is such a vibrant time in their lives. Students are asking wonderful questions about themselves as individuals, and embracing and growing into young adults with interests and opportunities and responsibilities.”

After starting her career teaching high school in Florida, Chin held positions at several universities around the country before coming to UM in 1981 as director of the English teaching program, working with future teachers.

“I love sharing information with and supporting teachers,” she said. “The most important thing is that they find teaching positions where they feel it's a good match.”

Chin said she has attended NCTE’s national conferences since 1976, after being introduced to the program by some of her professors in college. She also received the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2012, and was a former member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

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“I’ve always believed in volunteering my time and energy to help,” she said.

Shelbie Witte, an associate professor at Oklahoma State University who served on the committee that chose Chin for the Halle Award, said it is meant to honor the work an individual has contributed over the course of her career.

“Beverly is incredibly involved. She comes to every middle level section event and contributes every time, and works hard to recruit more members,” Witte said.

Chin will be presented with the award at NCTE’s annual convention on Nov. 19 in Minneapolis.

“I’m hopeful that a large number of Montana English teachers can come and join me,” she said.

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