has a national honor to celebrate with English teacher James B. Carmicle who was named the recipient of the inaugural Claes Nobel Educator of the Year Award.
The award, doled out by Claes Nobel, a member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes, was presented to Carmicle at a special National Society of High School Scholars Day held in Atlanta earlier this month.
“Never in my life have I received something like this,” Carmicle said.
Carmicle, who teaches ninth, tenth, and eleventh-graders at the school this year, is known around campus for his optimistic outlook and sunny views on life. Hollywood High School assistant principal Marco Tolj said Carmicle is devoted to his work.
“He is the ultimate professional, and he’s a wonderful humanitarian,” Tolj said. “He’s extremely dedicated. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood.”
Carmicle is so dedicated to his students that he has not missed a single day of school since he first began teaching at Hollywood High School 13 years ago, Tolj said. For Carmicle, who speaks with a voice as smooth as a radio announcer, the reason is simple.
“I love what I do,” Carmicle said. “I love to teach.”
It was not, however, his first profession. Carmicle spent some time in other fields, including as an advertising executive for Cashbox Magazine and a radio disc jockey. He moved to Los Angeles from New York 20 years ago, received his teaching credentials from USC and embarked on a new career, one he now refers to as his calling.
“I’ve found my calling in education, I think,” he said. “Education is in the blood.”
What matters most to him is making sure his students are prepared for the future in college and beyond.
“I think what I enjoy the most about teaching is inspiring and motivating students to understand knowledge is power,” he said. “We have to show them this is the way, so they can enjoy their own success in the future. They deserve it. They work for it.”
He said it all adds up to setting the right example for his students— an example that doesn't go unrecognized.
It was a senior that Carmicle taught last year, who originally nominated him for a previous award given out by the National Society of High School Scholars. In turn, that nomination sparked consideration for the Claes Nobel Educator of the Year Award given by the same organization.
The award comes with a $5,000 check that Carmicle hopes to use to help his students by buying new books and additional technology for the classroom. Listening to Carmicle talk about his students, his classes, and his school, it is clear he has found his niche, and to him, that is the most important thing of all.
“You don’t need to go around more than once in life if you do it right the first time,” Carmicle said. “Find something in life that makes you happy, and just do it.”