FORT EUSTIS, Va. – Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, congratulated the winners of the 2017 TRADOC Instructors of the Year during the annual TRADOC Instructor of the Year Awards at the Fort Eustis Club, 1 August.
The seven winners were selected from each of the Army, TRADOC, National Guard, and Army Reserves schools representing more than 10,000 instructors, facilitators and educators from Army and Multi-component schools, institutions and organizations.
“Each of us can probably remember an educator who made an impression,” Townsend said. “For Soldiers, those impressions are often made by drill sergeants, technical instructors or civilian educators who go the extra distance, and that is what the TRADOC Instructors of the Year winners represent. These instructors work every day to educate others and make a difference in our future Army.”
According to the competition organizer, David Garrity, each of the competitors were selected based upon their demonstrated exceptional technical knowledge, communication skills, and classroom management techniques.
“Being recognized as a TRADOC Instructor of the Year is no easy task, and it shouldn’t be,” Garrity said.
Garrity explained that the top 67 contender packages are judged based on tactical and technical knowledge, communication skills, classroom management, and their contributions to training and education by two separate panels comprise of seven judges from within the TRADOC enterprise.
Because this award dates back to 1988, there is a lot of prestige in being recognized as a TRADOC Instructor of the Year and the competition is stiff, Garrity said. But, the truth is most of the competitors say they were just doing their job to the best of their ability.
These were words echoed by many of the winners including Lt. Col. Rafael Novaes the 2017 TRADOC Educator of the Year and Mr. James L. Benton the 2017 TRADOC Civilian Instructor of the Year.
“Although this is very humbling, I am not interested in accolades,” said Novaes, a member of the Military Personnel Exchange Program (MPEP) from Brazil assigned to at Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. “I just focus on providing the best instruction I can.”
Novaes holds a Master’s degree in Military Operations and a PhD. in Military Sciences from the Brazilian Army’s Command and General Staff College. During 2017, Novaes trained 64 students attending the Command & General Staff Officer Course School of Professional Military Education.
“I enjoyed teaching class so much I didn’t realize how important the instructor and relationship was to successful learning,” Novaes explained.
“I am not the guy who hangs plaques in the classroom, but having an instructor win this award means a lot to the school and the students” said Benton an instructor for the Civil Support Skills Course and the Incident Commander Train-the-Trainer Course at the Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School.
Benton, who has been teaching since 1991, believes part of his success as a course writer and instructor is his ability to relate his teaching to real to world incidents that he has either been involved in or done extensive research on.
Each of the TRADOC Instructor of Year awardees received an engraved plaque, four-star note, coin and certificate of achievement from General Townsend.
“It isn’t about recognition for educators,” Benton said. “It’s about being able to see the difference and the confidence I bestow on the service members that come through our course encourages me drive in perfecting our course and my presentation skills.”
The 2017 TRADOC Instructors of the Year are:
Officer Instructor of the Year: Maj. Vincent T. Myers, U.S. Army Logistics University, Fort Lee, Virginia
Warrant Officer Instructor of the Year: Chief Warrant Officer 3 Truman V. Ward, U.S. Army Logistics University, Fort Lee, Virginia
Noncommissioned Officer Instructor of the Year: Staff Sgt. Alex A. Rababah, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, California
Civilian Instructor of the Year: James L. Benton, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
National Guard Instructor of the Year: Staff Sgt. Shane O. Searle, Headquarters, 640th Regiment (Regional Training Institute), Riverton, Utah
Army Reserve Instructor of the Year: Sgt. 1st Class Martin S. Rhoades, 80th Training Command (The Army School System), North Chesterfield, Virginia
Educator of the Year: Rafael Novaes, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Fort Benning, Georgia
Pictured above: Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden, TRADOC Command Sergeant Major, pose for a group photo with the seven 2017 U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Instructors of the Year during a recognition ceremony, here, 1 Aug.
The seven winners were selected from the top 67 contenders from each of the Army, TRADOC, National Guard, and Army Reserves schools were judged on tactical and technical knowledge, communication skills, classroom management, and their contributions to training and education, including curriculum development, research and article publication. (U.S. Army photo by Michael Vernon Voss)