Kingsland teacher who inspired student honored with national award

Kingsland teacher Scott Mulholland receives an award from former student Kiara Reichstadt, who nominated him for the honor. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Spring Valley Tribune

When Kingsland social studies and history teacher Scott Mulholland received a letter in the mail that he was awarded the 2018 Inspiring Teacher Award from Mister Car Wash, he wasn’t sure it was legitimate, so he had his wife, English teacher Stephanie Derby, read it over, too.

The couple concluded the award was the real thing and after some investigating Mulholland learned that former student Kiara Reichstadt had nominated him for the award. 

Reichstadt, a student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she is a junior studying integrated elementary and special education, happened to come across some information about the award and immediately thought of Mullholland, who had made quite an impact on the 2016 Kingsland graduate.

“I decided to nominate Mr. Mulholland for the award, because out of all of the years I had him at Kingsland — seventh, ninth and 10th — he never disappointed us students,” said Reichstadt. “I thought about which teacher would best utilize the money award, and there was no question. From Gettysburg to the Constitution to the Decades Project, I knew he could highly benefit from this award.  Additionally, Mr. Mulholland pushes all of his students to do the best they can and learn as much as possible.  There are a lot of components to history, yet Mr. Mulholland is an amazing teacher who everyone learns from.” 

Reichstadt said Mulholland pushed her outside of her comfort zone in school and had high expectations for her.  She was a Decades project manager as well as captain of her ship for a journal experience of traveling to the New World.  She still has her journals from his Gettysburg project, where she lost her “husband” who was fighting on one side of the war and her “son” who was fighting on the other side.

“The experiences in Mr. Mulholland’s classroom are hands-on, something more teachers need to do,” she said. “Since I am becoming a teacher myself, Mr. Mulholland has inspired me to bring different aspects to teaching.”    

The award, which went to 30 teachers across the nation for the 2018-2019 year, includes free car washes for a year from Mister Car Wash as well as $1,000 to use on school supplies.

Mulholland already has several ideas on how to spend the $1,000. One idea is to get some costumes from the 1920s and 1930s to share with his sophomore students working on the annual Decades project or a Cricut letter cutter for all the posters they make for the Decades exhibits. He said he is also considering some items connected to the Civil War to share with his seventh graders and his list also includes more copies of the Constitution to share with his freshmen students.

Although Reichstadt knew Mulholland deserved the award, she wasn’t sure if Mulholland would actually win “because, well, this is a big country and I did not think my writing would be influential enough to win for him.” 

However, she received the “congratulations” e-mail in April announcing he had won, and the company sent him a packet of how to receive his award. 

“Since it was a nomination, my name was not mentioned when he received the news, but it was easy enough for him to find out who nominated him, being it is a small school and my mom works in the district office,” she said.

Reichstadt spent a few moments in Mulholland’s classroom on the morning of May 14 so that pictures could be taken to send to the car wash company and so she could catch up on what’s happening in the Kingsland classrooms. 

She shared that two Kingsland teachers — Mulholland and sixth grade teacher Paul Eckheart — popped into her mind when she saw the information on nominating inspiring teachers. She chose Mulholland because she figured he could use the money more for his class projects and she had classes with him throughout several years.

She said many students don’t realize how much time teachers put into teaching. Mulholland would sometimes work until 4 or 5 a.m. on the slides he presented to his classes, she noted, and that was all to benefit the students.

“When you are a high schooler, you don’t really realize how much you become who you are in high school.  Teachers are a part of that journey, too.  Kingsland has great teachers, and I am more than thankful to be prepared for college by all of them.  The skills I learned have actually been highly beneficial in my college career,” said Reichstadt.

“I have also found that Kingsland has prepared me quite more than some of my college peers’ educational experiences.  I am grateful to have had the education I have,” she said. “I hope this nomination proves Mr. Mulholland truly deserves this Inspiring Teachers Award.  No matter how he spends the money or how often he gets a car wash, I would like him to know that his students are highly grateful for his dedication.”