To say that last week was quite a bit of fun for Miami Springs Senior High School teacher and boys basketball coach Delmar Wilson just might be understating the issue.
Not only did Wilson’s Hawks players come through with a huge win on the court, but it was Wilson himself honored individually when he learned he had been named the South Florida Chevy Dealers Teacher of the Year in Miami-Dade County. The award, which “recognizes outstanding educators/coaches in the community,” came with a nice plaque and a check for $2,000, which is donated back to Miami Springs Senior High School in Wilson’s name.
Wilson’s name was announced live on NBC-6’s National Signing Day TV show from Dave & Buster’s in Hollywood. Wilson wasn’t there, but for good reason.
At that exact moment, he was busy coaching his Golden Hawks basketball team in a district semifinal playoff game against Coral Gables at Miami High School. And Wilson watched his players come through with a big upset win, putting them into the regional playoffs (see page 9 for more details).
“Miss Valdes (Math Department head Desiree Valdes) came to me last month and told me she had nominated me for the award,” said Wilson, who was one of 200 nominees. “I told her, thank you, and never really thought much about it again. Next thing you know, I find out I had won and I was extremely humbled and flattered because there are a lot of terrific teachers and coaches around the county.”
It’s not the first time Wilson has been honored.
Three years ago, in honor of Black History Month, Wilson was one of only three teachers in the entire state and the only senior high school teacher to win the Excellence in Education Award. It was Valdes who had nominated him for that award as well and Wilson made the trip north to Tallahassee for an invitation-only dinner at the Governor’s Mansion to receive a check for $1,500 from then-Governor Charlie Crist.
“Delmar Wilson deserves this award for being an extraordinary teacher, an admired colleague, a beloved coach, and a relentless student himself, continuously developing his pedagogical practices,” Valdes said in her recommendation later to South Florida Chevy representatives. “He has been teaching ninth-grade Algebra I for eight years. Most freshmen begin the year with a fear or even a dislike for math but Delmar, using his innate gift for teaching, gets through to these students.”
“Any teacher will probably tell you that they certainly aren’t in it for the money,” said Wilson, who is finishing up his fourth season as the head basketball coach and has a team that won just four games his first year headed to the regional playoffs for the first time in six years. “We’re in it for the love and the challenge of trying to better kids and help them build their futures. I try and apply the same kind of techniques in coaching as well. To try and be patient with kids and know that everything is a growing and a learning process that can take several steps.”
“We are proud of Mr. Wilson and his accomplishment,” said MSSH principal Anna Rodriguez. “He is a dedicated coach, a successful mathematics teacher and a real asset to our faculty and staff here at Miami Springs High School.”
Said Valdes: “He makes an abstract subject come alive. Even the most concrete thinker grasps concepts that initially seem so foreign. From textbooks to Smartboards, he believes in traditional practice with modern technology. He understands the nature of this generation and uses many modalities of teaching. He also makes himself available during lunch and after school for tutoring, and his classroom has turned into a comfortable haven for many of his students.”