DECATUR, Ill. – Millikin University’s Director of the School of Education Dr. Chris Cunnings was recently named the recipient of the 2023 Extra Yard for Teachers Award from the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation.
The CFP Extra Yard For Teachers Award recognizes and empowers educators nationwide who go above and beyond to provide outstanding classroom instruction and educational opportunities for students.
"In all my years as a high school teacher and college professor, this might be the most meaningful and humbling recognition I've received,” Dr. Cunnings said. “As a former college football player with a lifelong passion for teaching, learning, STEM education, and sports, this award serves as an intersection between my personal and professional identities. I'm so honored!"
The CFP Foundation partners with institutions of higher education, sports organizations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations to support pre K-12 education across the country.
While an undergraduate at McKendree University majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biochemistry, Dr. Cunnings played college football and was named an All-American in 2004.
Dr. Cunnings previously taught science and mathematics for eight years at Wilmington High School in Wilmington, Ill., where he received the "WGN-TV Teacher of the Month Award" (2009) and the ISTA/ExxonMobil Outstanding Teacher of Science Award (2013).
During his tenure at Millikin, Dr. Cunnings has received the Alpha Lambda Delta Outstanding Teaching Award (2018) and the James Millikin Estate Professorship in Education (2020).
In October, the School of Education hosted more than 100 Central Illinois high school students who hoped to have a career in education when they came to Millikin University to learn more about the field at the Tomorrow’s Teachers Conference. The all-day event allowed students to listen to speakers, attend breakout sessions and take in a panel led by current Millikin students looking to get into teaching, explaining their experiences.