Josh Curry Named 2019 Dewey Award Winner

Connor Reiff (left) and Joshua Curry (right)

In 2017, and in honor of Richard Dewey, Charter School Capital created the Dewey Awards to celebrate those teachers who were able to see in student what they perhaps couldn’t see, who saw the promise and potential of students and helped them believe that they could do anything they set our minds to.

For the 3rd annual Richard Dewey Awards, Charter School Capital received a number of amazing, touching, inspirational submissions. Close to 75 stories about how teachers have made a difference were shared with Charter School Capital, with the caliber of submissions having made selecting the three winners a very challenging task for the panel of judges. While each selected winner was a student, the impact of victory can reach much further as the prize includes a $1,000 grant.

One of those 75 submissions and three winners was a familiar face in Options-Noblesville sophomore Connor Reiff.  In his submission for the Dewey Award, Connor was tasked with answering the question, “How has Joshua Curry impacted my life?”

Reiff’s answer to that question speaks volumes to the impact Joshua Curry has had on more than just Reiff’s education.


“To answer this question, allow me to review the two previous years of my life. I had been told that I had ADHD, but in 6th grade, I had actually become seriously ill with Narcolepsy with Cataplexy. I was put on homebound restrictions through my previous school for almost two years. Having to do online work was not fun and sometimes I fell asleep halfway through my work! Sometimes I fell asleep for weeks at a time! I was put into a clinical trial for a medication where I had to frequently fly to California. Then I had to be seen by the top research doctor at Stanford University because I was still sleeping so much. It was there that I was also diagnosed with Klein-Levin Syndrome, a very rare sleep disorder. I have no idea how, but I somehow survived through those painful two years on an online school and traveling. After successful medical interventions, my homebound instructor suggested Options Charter School in Noblesville, Indiana. Today I am a successful student at Noblesville Options Charter School. Let me tell you about one of my teachers, who has made it his mission to ensure my success in school.”

Actual Story:

“The school I am at now, Options Charter School, has put me on a brighter path by inspiring the student in me to wake up (no pun intended) and to be free. Regardless of my disorders, I am able to function at school and complete my work every day, sometimes with no homework at all!

The one teacher who helped me through a lot of this was my social studies teacher, Joshua Curry. He had some secondhand experience with Narcolepsy and it came from a surprising source! My family and I attended the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Kentucky. There I met other children who have narcolepsy including one of Josh’s school friends named Nick who had a daughter with the same type of narcolepsy as me! Nick tutored Josh on every possible important thing for a narcoleptic like me. He taught him the wants, needs, and level of care needed to help. Josh then suggested extended time for assignments, minimal homework, and that the goal was to help me succeed with whatever it took. Over a short period of time, Josh became not just a teacher, but my best friend and someone who cared for me. He came to my awards ceremony for the community project I had done. He even spoke at the ceremony despite his nervousness toward the thought of public speaking! He even drove me back to school afterward and bought me a giant-sized Dr. Pepper when we stopped at Speedway! We laughed all the way back! It was the best day of my life!

Josh has always had my back and he gives me somewhat ridiculous deadlines for school assignments. When I bring this up, he would say, “Just take the two weeks, Connor. Besides, it’s only just in case you fall asleep.” We would both laugh for a while after that and then I would go on to my next class. Every day at school I wish one thing for myself, “I wish to be in Josh’s classroom all day, every day!”

The reason that I like his classroom so much is because when I was undergoing treatment, I read a lot of historical articles, books, and movies. In the classroom, he makes history relevant and interactive. He uses constant hilarious dark humor that keeps my mind engaged. He engages the students by demonstrating that he is an authority about each topic. It makes me ask questions about the sequence of history.“History is not wrong unless you record it wrong” is one of his favorite quotes. He has many books in his classroom for different perspectives and time periods. This allows me to gain historical knowledge and draw my own conclusions.
There isn’t a teacher more deserving of being recognized than Josh Curry. Often times, charter school teachers are not recognized for helping individual students and for the good that they do in the world. Thank you for the opportunity to nominate Josh Curry. He is most deserving of this national honor!”

In response to learning that he was the recipient of a $1,000 grant, Curry was both humble and grateful.

“I was happy to be recognized it such a way. What it demonstrates to me is that people are paying attention to Options and the good things happening in the classrooms, whether it be parents, stakeholders and others in the community. It was very gratifying and encouraging to find out that I was selected. School teachers are always looking for more sources of funding to deepen lessons and improve our classrooms. It was a pleasure to be selected and it was a deep surprise. The gratification will go a long way.”

A Social Studies teacher, Curry already has an idea how the grant funds will be used within his classroom. Curry plans on adding to the selection of reading materials, documentaries & videos for visual learners and interactive classroom decorations in order to help enhance the learning experience of all students.

The full Charter School Capital announcement for the 2019 Dewey Award can be found here.


About Charter School Capital
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $2 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country.

About Options Schools
Founded in 2002 as one of the first five charter schools in the state of Indiana, Options Charter Schools provide a free alternative to the traditional education program through small class sizes and an individualized approach. Utilizing innovative approaches, Options Schools focus on personal academic achievement as well as the health and wellness of each student. Along with campuses in Carmel & Noblesville, Options also offers a web-based Distance Education program that serves students throughout Indiana.