A Pierce College English instructor is the recipient of the 1998 Hayward Award for Excellence in Education, one of the most prestigious awards given to faculty members of the California community colleges system.
Richard Follett, 50, is one of four educators receiving the award from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors at a recent meeting.
"It means a great deal to me," said Follett, who has been at the school since 1984. "It's validation by my peers."
Follett, a Van Nuys resident, was presented with a plaque and a $1,250 cash prize through a grant from the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
More than 43,000 full- and part-time faculty members at the state's 106 community colleges are eligible for the award. In a statement, the panel recognized Follett's ability to capture his students' attention and interest.
The award comes after years of Pierce officials shying away from nominating one of their educators.
"We were always concerned with how could you tell the difference between a good typing teacher and a good science teacher, or any other subject," Follett said. "This year, they wanted to nominate someone. I was surprised when that someone turned out to be me."