Tyler Stewart, social studies teacher and student council adviser at Berg Middle School in Newton, IA, has been named the 2020 Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Adviser of the year. The annual award is named for Warren E. Shull, the founder of National Student Council and recognizes middle level student council advisers for their exemplary character, leadership, commitment to young people, and for fostering student leadership development.
Stewart is a social studies teacher at Berg Middle and has advised the student council for five years. During that time, he has inspired his students and fostered their development as young leaders. Under his guidance, the student council has expanded to 145 members comprised of students in fifth through eighth grades. In addition to service and leadership, Stewart sees student voice as a next step for the student council and says, “Throughout the last five years, I have advocated that our student council members be allowed to sit on teacher committees that pertain to their interests as students. This is a new phase of student council we are transitioning to in order to amplify student voice and to hopefully allow more buy in from our students at Berg Middle School.”
Whether it is sponsoring fun activities like their popular Lip Sync Battle that draws 1,000 people or reminding teachers how much they are appreciated by writing “We’re Thankful” letters, the members of the student council at Berg Middle are developing important life skills under the tutelage of Stewart. In addition to the council planning and running both in-school and local activities, Stewart has worked to expand their leadership experiences by giving them opportunities to attend state conferences, where most recently his council delegation was 50 delegates strong. He has also attended the National Student Council Conference where he presented a workshop and led a round table session.
Stewart’s teaching and leadership skills have not gone unnoticed. He serves as the building instructional leader for the social studies department and has participated in key district level committees. He has been recognized as the Adviser of the Year for the Iowa Association of Student Councils (IASC) and received the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Award from the Iowa Council for the Social Studies. Stewart and his council enthusiastically support the IASC state project each year.
Vicki Carstens, executive director of IASC writes, “Tyler is a hardworking, enthusiastic, dedicated middle school adviser who models inclusion, community service, and big dreams. I saw Tyler’s passion for student leadership when he attended his first national conference with three students. Everything he saw and experienced, he absorbed. He took copious notes and hundreds of pictures and videos. He encouraged his students to get as many ideas as possible. Within his school and community, he is a difference-maker. He has a passion for helping others, teaching his students the value of community service.”
Of Stewart, Lisa Sharp, principal of Berg Middle School says, “Tyler is intentional about providing opportunities for our students to be leaders and help create a healthy culture for our 1,000 students and staff at Berg Middle School. He provides many opportunities for our student council members to learn the lesson of giving back to their school and community. What he has created with our Berg Middle School student council is inspiring to his colleagues and community. Tyler Stewart is a difference-maker who I have heard say on more than one occasion, ‘I will find a way to make this happen for the students,’ and he does.”
Ella Swarts, the 2019–2020 BMS student council president reflects, “Over the past few years, the officers and I have come to know Mr. Stewart very well. We know he loves politics, “The Office,” and white chocolate mochas at Starbucks, but we also know he loves making a difference throughout our school and community. Stewart impacts every student’s life and I guarantee that the work he does with BMS student council has bettered every student that has been a part of student council at Berg Middle School. Mr. Stewart always puts his students’ lives first. He’s one of the first to arrive to school in the morning and one of the last to leave the school at night. The officers and I know if we ever need help, Mr. Stewart will be there for us and will give us his best advice.”
For his efforts to inspire his emerging leaders and instill in them a passion to serve others, National Student Council proudly recognizes Tyler Stewart as the 2020 Warren E. Shull National Middle Level Adviser of the Year.