Elaine Stillerman, MASSAGE Magazine

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) has announced the winners of the AFMTE, Biofreeze and Bon Vital’ Educators of the Year Award (one award for a teacher in a school setting and one award for a continuing education (CE) provider on the AFMTE’s Facebook page. David Lauterstein is the recipient of the teacher award and Elaine Stillerman is the recipient of the CE provider award.

Each winner receives a one-year AFMTE gold membership, one free registration to the 2013 AFMTE Annual Conference, a $1,000 stipend (for travel, lodging and miscellaneous expenses) to be reimbursed at the conferenceand more than $1,000 in free product packages from Biofreeze and Bon Vital. Both winners will have a five-minute slot at the 2013 AFMTE Conference to highlight their accomplishments and commitment to excellence.

“I am honored to be receiving this award and recognition from my colleagues. As a teacher of continuing education for nearly 25 years, I am very proud to share and espouse the same values in the quality of education as the AFMTE. We all must continue to encourage excellence in our teachers and our students,” said Stillerman.

This award honors excellence in massage education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage education. The recipients were chosen based on their experience, teacher training taken and how well they met the core competency standards.

Applications were accepted from January to April of this year and were reviewed by a committee. Rubrics were assigned to the different sections, and two winners were chosen. The final selection committee included a representative from each of the following organizations: the AFMTE Board, Biofreeze and Bon Vital.

David Lauterstein, MASSAGE MagazineAccording to a representative from Biofreeze, “The committee chose Elaine and David, who exemplify the core competency standards which form the bases for effective and successful teaching. That combined with their experience and training, really showed their dedication to education. Performance Health is very pleased to see these two veteran educators honored with this award.”

“We wanted to acknowledge educators in this field, without a requirement that they (or the schools they teach at) are members of any specific organization. Also, there are many excellent continuing education providers that go unrecognized because they aren’t affiliated with a school,” says Cherie Sohnen-Moe, who serves on the board for the AFMTE and spearheaded this project.

“Performance Health consistently supports the profession with humanitarian awards and education scholarships. Thus, this opportunity was a natural alignment with our many years of work with massage schools, continuing education providers and our support of the alliance.” Performance Health/Biofreeze added, “We support the alliance mission to be an independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators, and are committed to their efforts in obtaining higher standards for massage therapy education.”

“Bon Vital is proud to be a co-founding sponsor of the Educators of the Year Award for teachers and continuing education providers for the AFMTE. Bon Vital has an unwavering commitment to education and honoring those who enrich the lives of massage students and licensed massage therapists.”

“What inspired me to apply for this award was my administrative staff! They urged me to apply in light of my years of dedication to our school and my joy in teaching. It is in some ways the greatest honor to have the appreciation of the people I work with every day,” said Lauterstein. “Receiving this award warms my heart. It also is deeply encouraging. I have represented in the massage and bodywork realm a rigorously holistic perspective that emphasizes the artistic as well as the scientific side of massage therapy and education.”

He continued, “Lately, there has been so much emphasis, much of it very useful, on the medical applications of massage. So, it is especially heartening to know that our field very much values and respects the ‘higher calling’ of massage and bodywork. Even though we may have an uphill battle, massage therapy bears precious messages to humankind about the value of kindness, the miracle of life on earth, and a fostering of peace of mind, heart and body. Every human needs the education in realizing what a miracle he or she is–in body, mind and spirit. This respect and advocacy for human potential and ultimately for all life on Earth is supported by this incredible profession we call massage therapy.”

The AFMTE spent two years developing the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Education (TESP). According to the alliance, these awards are meant to inspire educators to evaluate themselves according to the TESP. That process alone contributes to creating a culture of teaching excellence–the theme for this year’s AFMTE Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, July 18 to 20.

“We feel that this award is meaningful as it’s given by an organization dedicated to improving education,” said Sohnen-Moe.

About the Alliance

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is an independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators. It serves the entire education sector–from entry-level training programs through postgraduate studies. For more information, call (855) 236-8331 or visit www.afmte.org.