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Denfeld Teacher Receives $5,000 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award

posted May 15, 2014, 9:06 AM by Communications ISD 709
   Matthew “Phil” Rannila, Denfeld High School, is the recipient of the 2014 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award. Andy Goldfine, son of Manley and Lillian Goldfine, made the announcement at a reception Wednesday evening during which he presented Ranilla with a trophy and a $5,000 check.
   Rannila has been an ISD 709 Automotive Systems and Tech teacher since 1998, after working 9 years
in the business industry. An enthusiastic educator, he uses innovative classroom techniques and equipment to challenge students and facilitate learning.
   His philosophy: “If I allow students to learn, they will.” He combines the best of both book and hands-on learning, using state-of-the-art, industry approved technologies and equipment. Students learn the ins and out of the high tech world of automobile technologies, an area which, in the United States, enables more than 250 million cars to operate. The ISD 709 Auto Systems and Tech Program has received superior ratings and is one of only eight operating in Minnesota.
   Rannila dedicates his life, inside and outside of school, to his profession. According to Principal Jim Arndt, “Phil not only shares his wealth of knowledge and love of learning with students, he builds long-term relationships, a rapport that will last a lifetime.” He has taught and coached winners of the SkillsUSA State Competition, a pinnacle of achievement in the high school automotive world. Phil’s colleagues describe his gift for working with students who don’t “fit the mold” and reference his ability to cut through red tape and get things done. He partners with higher education and the business community to create increased opportunities for students to learn and use their skills in real world settings.
   He holds a Bachelor’s degree, ASE Master Tech Certification and is a certified Chrysler technician. He is Chairperson of the Automotive Business and Education Board, comprised of former and current students, business organizations and community members with interest and expertise in the automotive industry. Phil remains current in his field, attending at least 40 hours of seminars and workshops each year. Phil is actively engaged in NATEF (National Automotive Education Technical Foundation), which allows the program to be certified at the college level.
   Six Duluth Public School middle and high school teachers were nominated for the award based on several criteria, including impact in the classroom, school and community, and their efforts to pursue professional development. Phil Ranilla was selected for the award by committee through a competitive application process.
   Manley and Lillian Goldfine established a fund for the Gold Star Teacher Award in 2006 through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, to honor inspirational teachers for their dedication, skills and hard work. Last year elementary school teachers were nominated for the award; this year secondary school teachers were nominated.