---- — Longtime teacher Craig Lindvahl doesn't believe he is deserving of his most recent award.
As always, the ever-modest Lindvahl is doing his best to downplay the significance of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the latest in a roomful of awards he has won during a teaching and filmmaking career lasting more than 30 years.
"I'm not sure I deserve that sort of thing," Lindvahl said. "There's so many people responsible for the success of everything I've done. But if it's a chance to acknowledge their work, I'm happy with that."
Lindvahl, the former longtime band director at Teutopolis schools and an award-winning filmmaker, has been teaching the Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEO) class since 2008. Upon retirement, he hopes to expand the CEO class concept into other communities.
Jackie Joines, a development director at Eastern Illinois University, nominated Lindvahl for this latest national award that is distributed regionally. Lindvahl was among the East Central Illinois winners. Joines said Lindvahl deserves kudos for his innovative teaching methods and caring attitude.
"He is extremely devoted to teaching and learning," Joines said. "He's not just sharing subject matter, but he's making them into better people.
"I've really come to have a deep respect for him," Joines added.
Joines got a number of prominent area residents to write nominating letters in her bid to get Lindvahl the Jefferson Award. Agracel CEO Jack Schultz said Lindvahl stands apart from the crowd by his ability to connect with students.
"He brings out the best in them," Schultz said. "He's also very visionary in how he has developed the CEO class.
"It's a class that has transformed our community."
The CEO class has been widely hailed as a mechanism for enabling Effingham County's best and brightest to settle in the area after completing their formal education.
Current CEO class members say Lindvahl teaches in a way few others can match.
"His passion is very evident," said Beecher City senior Abby Martin. "He is very compassionate toward all his students.
"I have never doubted that he cares for his students," Martin added.
Martin said Lindvahl shows his humility, as well.
"He wants the focus to be on our success, not his own," she said.
Altamont senior Ethan Fitzwilliam said Lindvahl does a good job of getting his students ready to learn.
"I think it's his easy-going nature," Fitzwilliam said.
"He respects us," added Dieterich senior Landriah Hardiek. "He is so open-minded that he learns from us."
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.