With photo of Mr. Radel

Photo credit: Avery Holton

Teacher of year leads with integrity, service, and excellence

By Avery Holton

Silver Lariat Staff writer

The hustle and bustle of nominating teachers for awards and other pleasantries has become quite the monumental task in schools today. There are so many teachers that are qualified to be nominated for the same award or title within the same county, school and state. However, Mike Radel, career, technical and education/business technical education teacher, was recently named “Teacher of the Year” for Madison County High School. Radel, who is a certification specialist in Microsoft Office and Adobe, also advises the Future Business Leaders of America and is co-director of High School High Tech.

When asked how does it feel to earn the distinction of Teacher of the Year? Radel responded: “I’m very flattered by this achievement, since there are so many teachers deserving the award at this school. Being singled out is definitely a privilege.”

Radel shared that he has been starstrucked with amazement since being told he was this year’s winner. He explained that he could not stop shaking. So much so, that a few of his students told him to stop shaking, he chuckled while he explained.

“This is my first time receiving the award,” he said. “When I was talking to our assistant principal Jada Williams, we discussed that it had been about 20 years. I joked that it must just be my time.”

Radel is modest about the accolade, explaining that he does not know of anything in particular that made him stand out from other teachers who also probably deserved the honor. “I think it is a culmination of my hard work with students that has led to this event,” he said. “Student success is one I hope is the main reason. However, other reasons may be that I am a team player. I help other teachers and project a positive attitude in everything I do.”

The CTE teacher has been successful in garnering the school recognition for the large number of industry certifications his students complete each year. As manager of the Cowboy Bookstore his entrepreneurship students have been successful in generating more than $1,300 since the program began in 2017. The money collected at the bookstore goes directly back into the account to continue funding of supplies and equipment.

In addition through FBLA and HSHT, students have an opportunity to give back to the community through several projects such as Toys for Tots. The group worked in conjunction with the CTE program at the middle school, the Madison Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Marines to collect toys for needy families. Radel was also instrumental in working with MCHS’ HSHT to raise $200 to provide Port St. Joe’s HSHT Director to purchase a bike for members who were adversely affected by Hurricane Michael.

Earlier in the year, MCHS’ HSHT was selected as The Able Trust's 2018 recipient of HSHT of the Year Award! The Able Trust honored Madison for the leadership shown in providing quality experiences in all of the HSHT Guidepost to student participants. There were 47 HSHT programs in the state of Florida that were in reviewed for this recognition award.

With all of Radel’s other duties, he serves as the school’s webmaster. He is responsible for keeping the site up to date with the most recent news and developments.

After 20 years of teaching, Radel compares the feeling of the honor to winning a football game. “It is like our football team winning back-to-back state championship,” he said. “How long does it stay with you since you have done it two times? It is like being on the game show, ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ I was fortunate enough that someone selected door number one for me.”

Radel said he thanks the high school’s current leadership, teachers, and the entire staff for supporting him. “There are so many faculty members who make Madison County High School a great learning environment. I am proud to be one of those.”

Before Radel entered the realm of education, his life was that of a military man.

“After retiring, I flattered myself by thinking I was good in the administration field,” he said. “I used manual typewriters, Zenith 150 computers, and I learned how to use different software. I had good administrative management skills. So, I wanted to give back to my community by being a business teacher.”

Radel retired at the rank of Master Sergeant from the United States Air Force in 1998, and entered Valdosta State University, where he graduated in 2000 with a bachelor of science in education (business) degree.

When asked how would he uphold the image of a Teacher of the Year? He responded: “By doing what I always do, helping students achieve their success by what is learned in my classroom. I have a picture of the core values of the United States Air Force in my office and can be seen from the classroom. ‘Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.’ It is a reminder of how I want to be perceived by my students since I want all my students to achieve success in all that they do.”