Fairborn administrator is Cedarville University’s ‘Excellent Educator’


FAIRBORN – In hopes of inspiring the next generation of educators, Cedarville University education faculty are preparing for the education graduation ceremony. Each year, a faculty-nominated full-time educator is honored at the ceremony as the Excellent Educator of the Year — giving students an example of a career to aspire to.

This year’s Excellent Educator of the Year is Valerie Herdman, assistant principal of the Fairborn Primary School. A Greene County resident, Herdman grew up in Springfield and attended Springfield City Schools. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from Wright State University and went on to pursue two master’s degrees from Concordia University — one in teacher leadership and the second in administration.

Herdman will be recognized at the 2022-23 education graduation ceremony from 9-10 a.m. Friday, May 5, in Cedarville University’s Stevens Student Center, followed by a reception and annual students, faculty, and staff photo.

“I’m one of those teachers who knew from the very beginning I wanted to teach,” said Herdman. “In the summer I would take home every extra worksheet so I could go home and play school.”

Herdman’s career in education is extensive. From 1998-2002, she served as a pre-kindergarten teacher at Days of Discovery in Beavercreek, from 2004-2007 as a kindergarten teacher at the Tecumseh YMCA, and from 2007-2016 she was a kindergarten, first, and second-grade teacher for Dayton Public Schools. In 2016 she moved into her first administrative role, serving as assistant principal at Wright Brothers Middle School in Dayton and in 2018 she became the assistant principal at Fairborn Primary School.

In addition, Herdman serves as the Miami Valley Kids Wrestling Association secretary and received the 2023 Greater Dayton Wrestling Official Association Friend of Wrestling Award. She regularly volunteers at the Autism Society and serves on the Crayons to Classroom Student Advisory Committee. She attends Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Springfield.

In 2016, former dean of education Dr. Jeremy Irvin started the school of education teacher education program (TEP) graduation ceremony, a specific pinning ceremony to honor the 15 academic disciplines within the Cedarville University School of Education. During this ceremony, one educator is chosen from among Cedarville education faculty nominations to be honored as the Excellent Educator of the Year.

“We wanted to honor an educator who models our values with excellence,” said Dr. Lori Ferugson, assistant dean of the school of education. “The chosen educator speaks to our students at the graduation ceremony — we want them to glean from their wisdom, to see what their career could look like.”

Educators and facilitators are nominated by the school of education faculty. While some have been Cedarville alumni, there is no specific requirement based on alma mater. The Excellent Educator of the Year is chosen based on several criteria, including excellence in areas of collaboration, commitment to mission, leadership, impact on preparing future educators, and longevity and impact of their accomplishments.

“We choose our winner to highlight someone who has not only done an exceptional job teaching but transforming education,” said Dr. Kevin Jones, current dean of the school of education. “We want to honor them and inspire our students as they enter schools in the fall.”

No posts to display