NASC congratulates Mr. Michael Iles, student council adviser at DeRidder Junior High School in DeRidder, LA on being named the 2012 Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Adviser of the Year. Mr. Iles received the honor during the 2012 NASC National Conference that was held in Oklahoma City, OK in late June. Mr. Iles has been in middle school education over forty years, as a social studies teacher and assistant principal, and has served 28 of those years as student council adviser.

Mr. Iles has been very active on both the local, state and national levels of student council. Under his guidance, the DeRidder Junior High School Student Council has successfully sponsor a variety of projects including their popular staff survival kits, handed out to DeRidder teachers each year, and the annual ‘Memory Day’, an end of year pep rally that recognizes students for their contributions to the school through their participation in co-curricular activities. Service projects the council has undertaken included being a part of a National Guard Deployment Ceremony where council members performed a special flag ceremony. The group also participates in the Race for the Cure and led a successful food drive for a local organization. Mr. Iles extensive knowledge of student council and his ability to bring leadership alive for students led him to roles at the state level working with the Louisiana Association of Student Councils. He has presented multiple workshops, and was the first middle level adviser selected to serve as a district coordinator for LASC. His leadership has motivated his council leaders to get involved at the state level, and the council has also held school-level offices, including LASC Vice President.

Mr. Iles has long been an active member of NASC, presenting conference workshops and writing articles for Leadership for Student Activities magazine. From 1988-2003, he served on staff for the National Student Leadership Camps that NASSP sponsored. In 2004, he was selected as the Middle Level Advisor to the NASC Executive Board (now named the National Advisory Council), and has received adviser of the year accolades at state and region levels. His teaching skills have not gone unnoticed either, when in 1991, Mr. Iles was named the Louisiana Middle Level Teacher of the Year.

When speaking to role and value of student council, Mr. Iles notes, “Our student council seeks to nourish a positive school climate in which every student matters. When everyone is treated equally important, there is a sense of school spirit, ownership, and school pride. We provide activities that promote a positive self image, student recognition, new student transition, staff appreciation, and parental involvement. The positive feelings that are generated contribute to higher school morale. Student council provides an avenue for the district to empower students to achieve their potential with far-reaching results. I encourage you to keep open this door of many varied opportunities.

What if there were no student councils? I hope you can clearly see the void that would exist in members, school, community, and beyond. The value of student council to our schools and district cannot be measured in dollars and cents. With the opportunities provided through student council, the mission of our school and district is not only met; it is surpassed.

Admiration for Mr. Iles flows from both staff and students at DeRidder. Mr. Eddie Joslin, Principal of the school and a former student said, “Mr. Iles has been a dedicated educator for over forty years. He was my teacher and administrator when I was a student at DeRidder Junior High School. He has dedicated his adult life to children and he has earned the respect of his fellow teachers. Mr. Iles’ supreme dedication to teaching parallels the manner in which he sponsors the student council. He treats every council member as if they are the most important person in the group. His unbiased attitude has a way of bringing out the very best in each of his members. He involves all students in every aspect of the Council’s goals, often allowing them to lead the group. Mr. Iles goes beyond the cal of duty, often sacrificing personal and family time for his students. But his goals are reached - getting the very best out of each one of them.”

Kimberly Rushford, a DeRidder student council leader reflects, “Mr. Iles not only makes extraordinary contributions daily in his role as the adviser of our student council, he willingly shares his gifts, talents, and love for student council with others. His determination by undertaking projects makes others say, ‘You do that’ with junior high students? It is Mr. Iles’ contributions that have given life, breath, and depth to the message and vision of Student Council. No matter how demanding or pressured the situation, Mr. Iles always acts with his heart; a heart that is filled with kindness, dedication for his students, and pure passion for Student Council.”

For his efforts to develop emerging leaders and light a passion in them for serving others, NASC congratulates Mr. Michael Iles on being named the 2012 Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Adviser of the Year and wishes him continued success in his efforts to promote the value of student council in the middle level.