Eric Thiel, Amador Valley AP biology teacher and Science Department chair, has been named 2014 Claes Nobel Educator of the Year by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).
"It's quite an honor," said Thiel. "I was told that there are over 40,000 teacher members and I am the fourth to have received the award."
Thiel is a part of the NSHSS Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program which recognizes educators who model best-in-class practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in education.
The Claes Nobel Educator of the Year award is presented to the "best of the best," according to NSHSS.
Thiel was recognized Dec. 6 at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, where he received a $5,000 award to further his professional and educational goals, as well as a personalized plaque.
While in Atlanta, Thiel was invited to the Captain Planet Fundraising Event, organized by Laura Turner-Seydel and father Ted Turner, which raised money for environmental issues.
Dr. Jane Goodall was given an honorary award at the gala for her continued efforts in protecting wildlife and their habitats, according to Thiel -- who had the opportunity meet her after she received her award.
He also met Claes Nobel, which he described as "truly special."
"He obviously comes from a family that focuses on recognizing individuals that have performed well in their field of work which definitely makes the award that much more meaningful for me and definitely a highlight of my career," Thiel said.
Nine other teachers were recognized by NSHSS as 2014 Educator of the Year, with Thiel receiving the Top Educator of the Year award.