The Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce has selected high school social studies teacher and football coach Paul Muench as its "Educator of the Year.
"He's really made an impact on the kids ... and the community," said Marc Baum, president of the chamber.
Muench was selected in a vote of the leaders of the chamber's 250 member businesses. Although there was no nominating process, Mr. Muench received more than half of the votes cast, Baum said.
"It was pretty remarkable," Mr. Baum said. "We're excited about it."
Baum said that for him and many other business leaders who selected Mr. Muench, the choice was based largely on reports from their children.
"My son got to work with Paul at Showboat last year and just thought Paul was the greatest," Baum said.
Muench deflected praise to the rest of the school's faculty.
"I would accept (the award) on behalf of my colleagues," he said. "I got picked but it could have been anyone. ... The number one reason we're here is the education of all of the students who come into our rooms."
Muench said his success as a coach - his Hornets are 8-0 and competing in the sectional semi-final game Saturday - is related to his success as a teacher. He challenges his students to do their best.
"Great accomplishments are not reserved for others," he said of his message to students. "You can strive for excellence individually, in a group. It sounds like a paradox, but it's not."
Muench said teaching and guiding high school students offers him a chance to grow as a person.
"We can have a lasting impact on someone's life, hopefully in a positive fashion," he said. "They'll never understand how much we learn from them... It just makes you want to be a better person, a better role model."
Muench is to accept his award at the chamber's Distinguished Citizens Award Event at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Fayetteville Free Library.
Chris Iven is the communications specialist for the Fayetteville-Manlius School District.