Shutt holding up his golden apple and certificate during the award ceremony on Wednesday, September 25th. (Kristin Pedersen)
Shutt holding up his golden apple and certificate during the award ceremony on Wednesday, September 25th.

Kristin Pedersen

Brady Shutt Wins the Shine Award

On Wednesday September 25th of 2019, Brady Shutt was granted the Shine Award, an ICCSD Foundation award meant to honor teachers and faculty who have left a positive lasting influence on their students or colleagues.

October 2, 2019

Making an impact on a person’s life is a very easy thing to do, whether we’re aware of it or not. Teachers hold one of the most influential roles in the lives of students, now more than ever. 

Brady Shutt, a government teacher here at Liberty and a leader of many programs, has been teaching for 25 years and has seen thousands of students come through his classes. For all of the time teachers like Shutt dedicate to their students, very few receive recognition district-wide. The ICCSD Foundation, in conjunction with the Iowa City Community School District, has created an award that recognizes a handful of teachers every month,  Shutt being one of them.

The Shine Award goes to employees who positively influence those around them. This award is presented in the classroom environment and the employee receives a certificate and an engraved golden apple to put on display. 

“There was a family involved in the nominating, and that was very special for me because the student had been such a hard worker and made such growth as a student in terms of their confidence and their achievement,” said Shutt. “It was nice to be recognized for the work that teachers do every day, which is trying their very best to help every student that they have in their classroom.”

Seth Schroeder, another government teacher and a previous student of Shutt’s, now shares a room here at Liberty with him. Schroeder has known Shutt ever since he was a junior in high school when they first met. Nowadays, instead of sitting in a student’s desk,  Schroeder sits across the room from his old government teacher at a teacher’s desk. Both have a passion for the government, so Shutt and Schroeder often spend the first and last fifteen minutes of the day talking with one another about their classes and about what’s happening in the government that day. 

“Mr. Shutt was my government teacher in high school, so when I was a junior [in high school] I got to see firsthand just how good of an educator he was. I’ve known him for almost 20 years, now,” explained Schroeder. “I remember when I was in college as a part of the teacher education program we had to go observe [a teacher] for ten hours so I chose to observe Mr. Shutt. He’s also become a part of my teaching career because I share a room with him and we teach the same subject.”

Besides his role as a teacher,  Shutt also holds important positions outside the classroom. He is the principal of the Iowa City Education Association as well as the department chair of the Social Studies Department and has assisted Principal Kibby during the ongoing development of Liberty High School. Faculty like Shutt are vital to Liberty’s growth. It’s important that teachers feel a connection to their school and the students who attend there, as well as their colleagues. 

“More than anything Mr. Shutt is a compassionate educator who not only cares for his students but the staff he works with as well.  I am thankful he is a member of the Liberty team,” Scott Kibby, Liberty’s principal, said.

Shutt is not only there for his colleagues, but he is completely dedicated to helping his individual students achieve academic success, even when they might not believe in themselves. Schroeder remembers this from his days at West when the school had been a lot less diverse, not just in ethnicity but also in their learning abilities. Teenagers today learn differently than students in the ’90s did. The majority of Schroeder’s classmates understood the material perfectly, but that isn’t always the case. Now, students are asking more questions and getting the help they need to succeed. As the average student has changed over time, Shutt has adapted in order to help every student as much as they need. 

“He encourages students to go outside of their comfort zone. Students might not see it as it’s taking place, but when they reflect back, they see how he was right there every step of the way,” said Schroeder.

In all of his conversations with Shutt, it’s obvious to Schroeder that he is still as invested in his students’ successes as he was twenty years ago. Shutt not only pays attention to how his students are doing academically, but he also notices when they’re feeling unwell or when they need a confidence boost. He holds his students to higher expectations and collaborates with other teachers to figure out the best way to help them, whether that be finding a new way to explain material or deciding how to broach new or sensitive subjects that are inevitable sometimes with government classes.

For some people, teaching is just a job, but for those who really aim to help people, it’s much more than that. Every day is a new day, and there’s going to be something different every time they walk into the classroom. 

“The beautiful thing about teaching is -this is why I always say to younger people that if they’re interested in teaching they should pursue it- that every day is really different and that’s what makes it really exciting,” said Shutt.

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