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Berkley School District Superintendent Dennis McDavid is one of four teachers around the country to receive the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, along with $10,000.

McDavid, who received the award Thursday, was nominated by Ashley Maloff, who was a student in his high school English class in 2007. He taught English at Berkley High School starting in 2005, when he joined the district, until 2007, when he became the school’s principal.

In 2009, he became director of schools and human resources, and was named superintendent in July 2012.

In her nomination essay, Maloff wrote: “He never once gave up on me and helped me to tackle each academic and personal obstacle I faced head on. He is a person who truly understands that some days are just more difficult than others. Mr. McDavid believed in me on days when I stopped believing in myself and reaffirmed my belief that I would achieve success.”

In a statement from the district, McDavid responded, “I’m very honored and humbled to receive this recognition. I know how hard our teachers, administrators and staff work every day to lift up every child. In Berkley, we pride ourselves on helping each student achieve personal excellence through meaningful relationships with our teachers and staff, so this recognition is especially gratifying.”

He continued, “Ashley Maloff, who nominated me, was a great student and is a wonderful model for all of us in overcoming adversity, being persistent and knocking down barriers. Her essay is lovely and touching. What she has chosen to do with her life is inspiring.”

McDavid said he and his wife will save some of the money, have some fun with some of it and donate some of it to a number of Berkley school and community programs.

SLewis@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2296

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