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Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year

Posted January 21, 2024

Letter of recommendation from

Dr. Dana M. Young, TVCC President, for Joe Kurth, Ontario Chamber Of Commerce Educator Of The Year.

Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Nomination Committee,

Dear Selection Committee Members,

As President of Treasure Valley Community College, it is my distinct pleasure to nominate Joe Kurth as Educator of the Year. In order to keep this brief, I will highlight just a few of the reasons why he deserves consideration, but I also encourage you to talk to anyone who has taken a class from Joe. I believe they will tell you that in addition to being an excellent teacher, he is a student-advocate, a compassionate advisor and a teacher who is passionate about increasing real-world learning opportunities for students.

TVCC Teacher of the Year & Student Advocate Joe has taught at TVCC for more than a decade and has served as instructor in TVCC’s Social Science Department. He teaches political science, history, and ethnic studies classes. In addition to a more than full teaching load, Joe also serves as department chair, and most recently volunteered to serve as the faculty advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society. This important role helps support outstanding college students through building leadership and scholarship skills. Joe volunteers time to read student scholarship essays and mentors students through monthly PTK meetings and activities. Joe has shown a unique ability to always focus on what is best for our students. Joe has been an unwavering advocate for student programs and campus events that engage our students.

Perhaps the most resounding endorsement of his teaching expertise and the impact he has on students’ lives is the fact that he was selected as TVCC Teacher of the Year for 2021-22. TVCC students vote for the winner of this annual award through a campus-wide online voting tool. Joe makes a difference not only for the students he teaches in his classes, but as evidenced by his college-wide award, for so many students throughout TVCC. Joe comes in regularly to help with new student advising, serves on countless college hiring committees, and helps promote student programs, scholarships, and opportunities.

Capital Campaign & TVCC Champion In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Joe has taken a leadership role in TVCC’s Imagine. Invest. Inspire. Campaign to raise funds for a new Nursing & Allied Health Professions Building. Joe often speaks to local service groups and community organizations sharing how when he was growing up in Ontario, TVCC helped shape his life and provided opportunities. His authentic story of earning dual credits while at Ontario High School, and then leveraging that success to return and teach at TVCC, is a compelling endorsement of the impact TVCC makes in our community. In sharing his story, he always includes his family’s story of hard-work and dedication. Both his parents attended TVCC. He credits his father’s degree in agriculture from TVCC as helping him become employed with, and ultimately purchasing Ontario’s Andrews Seed in Ontario. 

His sister, Laura LeBoutillier, also attended TVCC and now hosts one of the most popular garden shows – Garden Answers-on YouTube, with more than 1.64 million subscribers. The Kurth family are generous donors to TVCC and Joe is one of the first to volunteer for speaking events and to share his family’s story with local donors.

Experienced and Innovative Educator Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Idaho, and a master’s degree in history from Boise State University. He has been an adjunct instructor at TVCC since 2008. He was hired as a fulltime instructor in January 2021. While we often wait until the end of an educator’s career to give this honor, awarding this recognition in the middle of a career will not only provide well-deserved recognition for Joe’s accomplishments, but I believe it will inspire other educators to continue their great work as they see recognition is not dependent on years served, but instead on hard work, effort and dedication shown at any point in a career.

I hope you will consider awarding this to a truly innovative, hard-working educator who will continue to inspire, motivate, and lead educational programs for students at TVCC for years to come. Thank you in advance for your serious consideration of honoring Joe Kurth, as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dana M. Young, TVCC President

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