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August 29, 2019

Dr. David R. Riel ‘75, director of clinical experiences and associate professor in Asbury University’s School of Education, has been making an impact in the lives of students at Asbury University for the last 11 years.

His active dedication to the School of Education and its students made him the perfect choice for this year’s Francis White Ewbank Award for Excellence in Teaching. The announcement was made during last week’s Academic Convocation.

“I really feel as though this award is honoring the entire of School of Education,” Riel said. “I am humbled to be the one being recognized while, at the same time, I am so honored to be part of such a high-functioning team of educators.”

The Francis White Ewbank Award for Excellence in Teaching is the University’s highest honor for teaching. Created in 2002 by Dr. Paul A. ’56 and Dr. Kay Fuller ’57 Rader, the award is conferred each year on one full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching effectiveness and spiritual modeling in and outside of the classroom. Each spring, graduating seniors submit nominations which are then reviewed by a committee before a final awardee is chosen and announced at the initial Chapel of the fall semester.

“[Dr. David R. Riel] is a strong Christian influence both inside and outside the classroom,” said Asbury University Provost Dr. Timothy Wooster, reading student comments about Riel prior to the announcement. “He consistently models what it looks like to be an effective and impactful educator. He has a deep love for Asbury. He is a responsive educator who excels as an advisor and an effective communicator.”

Riel received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Asbury in 1975. He holds a M.Ed. degree in elementary administration from Xavier University and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Morehead State University. Prior to coming to Asbury in 2009, Riel worked in the New Richmond School District, serving in positions ranging from language arts teacher to principal. He then served as the superintendent of the Ft. Recovery Local School District.

Riel has been recognized throughout his career for excellence in his field, receiving the 1989 Clermont County Chamber of Commerce’s Administrator of the Year Award and the 2001 Clermont Educator of the Year Award, among many others.

In addition to his efforts in the classroom, Riel is currently working on several other professional projects that will help to strengthen Asbury’s School of Education further.

“I have a passion for working with public school leaders,” Riel said. “I continue to work with the teachers and administrators in Knott County Schools, located in eastern Kentucky. Additionally, this semester I am teaching the very first class in Asbury’s recently approved superintendent licensure program. Another exciting initiative that our School of Education is launching is a dual credit program for East Jessamine High School juniors and seniors. I have spent a lot of energy getting that set up with our Jessamine County Schools partners.”

When he’s not teaching, Riel enjoys spending time with Debby MacKay ’77 Riel, his wife and soulmate of more than 45 years. He is active in the Nicholasville United Methodist Church and is currently serving his second term on the Wilmore City Council. He also serves as president of the board of the Health and Education Credit Union in Lexington, Ky. He is the proud father of Jeffrey ’01 and Melissa ’03 who both work in the field of education in Ohio. Asbury is a family legacy for Riel as his wife, both of his children, his parents and two of his sisters all graduated from Asbury.

For Riel, his work and his walk with the Lord go hand-in-hand. His students agree that he models this in the classroom.

 “Following Christ defines who I am,” Riel said. “I want others to see Christ in me. My spiritual life is not separate from my personal or professional life. Jesus Christ was the greatest teacher of all time and taught others by the words He spoke but even more, He taught by the life He lived. I strive to live my life each and every day following His example.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Riel on being named this year’s Francis White Ewbank awardee and for all of his professional successes.

To learn more about Asbury University’s School of Education visit asbury.edu/education.