CLAY COUNTY — David “Doc” Mills was named by the Illinois Principals Association as the Lifetouch National School Studios 2007 Partners in Education winner.

The education award recognizes a member’s outstanding effort in creating partnerships between schools, principals, associations and organizations.

The criteria for this award is to demonstrate positive impact on education and advocacy for children; the partnership must be an ongoing project benefiting the nominee’s school, profession of education, welfare of children, or the Illinois Principals Association; and a partnership may be with, but not limited to, businesses, governmental or social agencies and other associations.

Mills was recognized for his continued partnership with Dr. Rick Workman, a Clay County native who founded Heartland Dental Group in Effingham and Clay City Excellence in Education Foundation.

While Mills was still principal at Clay City Elementary School, Mills and Workman’s partnership resulted in more than $20,000 being donated to Clay City Elementary School to be used for technology purposes.

The two men’s project began during the summer of 2005 when Mills first became principal at Clay City Elementary School. Workman, through the Clay City Excellence in Education Foundation, had worked with the school’s previous administration on placement of a couple of Smart Boards, interactive computer screens usually mounted on the wall, and projectors in elementary classrooms.

Mills, who was later hired as Clay City superintendent, said other elementary teachers expressed interest in having this kind of technology in their own classrooms, so the two men, again through the foundation, worked to expand the technology to all the elementary classrooms, as well as high school and junior high math classrooms.

According to Mills, the interactive whiteboard allows a teacher to use computer-based learning activities that can be manipulated on a platform for all students.

“This award is more about the generosity and vision of a group of successful, dedicated and progressive Clay City alumni,” said Mills. “My contribution as principal represents only one-third of a successful partnership that made great things happen at Clay City Elementary School.

“I believe Dr. Workman and the Clay City Excellence in Education Foundation are the true recipients of the 2007 Partners in Education Award,” Mills said.

Jason E. Leahy, executive director of the Illinois Principals Association, said the IPA award is designed to recognize an IPA member displaying outstanding effort in creating partnerships between schools, principals, associations and organizations.

“Mr. Mills is to be commended for his outstanding effort and ability to garner community resources to help children. For students to be successful, it takes the partnership between schools, parents and the community,” Leahy said.

Before becoming a Clay City administrator, Mills was a social studies teacher and girls track coach at St. Anthony Grade School in Effingham.

He is currently principal at Center Street School in Fairfield.

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