CSU faculty awarded at Best Teacher event

Colorado State University’s best teachers were awarded Monday night at an event put on by CSU Alumni Association.

Amazing Teachers
Amazing Teachers (Photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina})

Students, faculty and staff, as well as fellow teachers, nominated the teachers. Of the 24 nominated, six were selected as 2014’s all-round best teachers.


The six awarded were: Antonette Aragon of the School of Education; Courtenay Daum, a political science professor; Rosemond Desir, an accounting professor; Lisa Dysleski of the College of Natural Sciences; Yerachmiel Gorelik, a philosophy professor; and Michael O’Reilly, a professor of construction management.

“There is not much criteria when it comes to being nominated and selected as one of the top six best teachers. Students, staff and teachers can nominate an educator and from there the Alumni Association makes their decision,” said Brittany Habben, a former CSU business major.

According to Habben, the teachers are not selected based on the amount of times they were nominated, but by the Alumni Association that discusses the teachers and then ranks them how they best see fit. Based on the selections made, the teachers were then honored.

According to Dan Bush, CSU’s Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs, the teachers all share a passion for education and inspiring students.

“They drive us forward as an institution, educating our students while increasing success in the classroom, advancing technology and furthering teaching techniques,” Bush said.

The teachers found out their standings via email eight weeks ago from Colleen Meyer, the Alumni Association Executive director. Meyer introduced each of the recipients, and each introduction was followed by short films and speeches from the individuals themselves.

Gorelik said he immediately felt honored. He came to CSU to teach and help students understand the Jewish culture. He is also deeply involved with the Rohr Chabad Jewish Center as the faculty advisor.

“I am thrilled with this opportunity,” Gorelik said. “It is from students I have learned so much and continue my passion of teaching.”

Antonette Aragon is a teacher focused on social justice. Students in the the short film described her as a compassionate teacher who touches hearts, not just minds.

“Wow, this is amazing, I love it’s an apple (the award). This is such an honor … this is the academy awards of teaching at Colorado State,” Aragon said. “I believe I was born to teach. It is of the highest called position we can ever do, to teach is to passionately work with the future of out society.”


Each of the teachers introduced had a true passion to making a difference in students life. According to Daum, making the smallest difference in someone’s life is why she is a teacher.

Accounting professor Desir was overwhelmed with joy upon receiving the award. He said that through this journey he has developed a deep appreciation for patience, to see the end realization students can finally have.

The time teachers spend outside of classes devoted to working with students and helping them understand the material is so beneficial, according to Taylor Curley, a biology major. Curley said that as a chemistry professor, Dysleski went above and beyond to help further understanding.

The last recipient, O’Reilly, is also highly valued and appreciated for having fun with teaching and engaging students.

“He is fully committed to your learning and engaging you in the classroom. He is someone you can have a relationship with outside of the classroom,” said Kayla Boos, senior construction management major, regarding professor O’Reilly.

Collegian Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at news@collegian.com