• Top educators named

  • Wagner and Steed names top CGSC educators.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Dwayne Wagner and Lt. Col. Brian Steed were named the 2018 Command and General Staff College Civilian and Military Educators of the Year respectively during the Command and General Staff Officer Course graduation June 15 on Main Parade.
    Wagner and Steed were chosen by the CGSC Educator of the Year selection board following their selections as civilian and military educators of the year in their departments. The selection board considered each candidate’s class presentation and narrative in their teaching style. This included how the instructor interacted with his students and colleagues, his level of preparedness for class and his overall expertise of the subject.
    Wagner has taught policy, strategy, joint operations, homeland security and national security policy in the Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations since he retired from active duty in 2008 after 30 years of service. His prior teaching experience included one year at the defunct Combined Arms Services Staff School on Fort Leavenworth in 1999 and one year at the School of Advanced Military Studies.
    “In 1973, my counselor told me not to go to college. Both my high school and college were closed so, I come from an academically deficient background,” Wagner said. “The Army gave me an opportunity to obtain a fully-funded graduate degree, attend the FBI National Academy and study at SAMS for two years in the senior service college fellowship.
    “Being selected civilian educator of the year makes me feel humble, blessed and vindicated because I — and others — continue to show that someone from a weaker academic background can compete well,” he said.
    Wagner said his choice to teach at CGSC was based on his own time as a student from 1990-1991.
    “CGSC lacked racial diversity then and continues to struggle with racial, ethnic and gender diversity,” he said. “I knew my 12 years in D.C. would be valuable as an instructor at CGSC and I knew that the college needed more minority instructors.”
    Wagner’s former students had positive comments about their instructor.
    “Mr. Wagner’s instruction was innovative and inclusive,” said Maj. Jessica Farrell, CGSOC Class of 2018. “He proactively sought contributions from each member of our small group and had an impressive ability to synthesize diverse thoughts in a way that helped our collective understanding.”
    Maj. Bill Hardwick, class of 2018, said he found Wagner to be a brilliant professor.
    “When it comes to national strategy and policy at the highest level, he understands it better than most policy makers,” Hardwick said. “He has a unique skill to read people and understand what is going on inside of them. Our entire class often talked about how lucky we were to have him.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Steed, who retired after 26 years of active duty on April 1, 2018, has taught in the Department of Military History for four years. His prior teaching assignments include ROTC cadets at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., and the U.S. Army Armor School at Fort Benning, Ga.
    Steed said he was surprised to learn he’d been chosen as military educator of the year.
    “I have an odd teaching style that is not the standard model approach,” Steed said. “I’m a non-linear thinker (and) I teach in a non-linear style. That style is sometimes difficult to follow and the military tends to apply a linear thought process.”
    Steed said he wanted to teach at CGSC because he knew it would be applied history.
    “It’s not just looking at history for the sake of history, but it’s history to inform, to help students (and) to provide historical context to inform professional judgement,” Steed said. “That to me is what really matters. It’s teaching them how to use history to benefit their professional pursuits. It’s very applied in its nature and that’s already my inclination as a historian.”
    Steed said he often uses metaphors to teach, and his former students said the metaphors made for a memorable learning experience.
    “Lieutenant Colonel Steed was a passionate teacher who found engaging ways to teach history for students with diverse military and intellectual background,” said Maj. James Torrence, class of 2018. “He made history fun.”
    Maj. Mary Avriette, class of 2018, said she didn’t like history in grade school and high school, but Steed’s instruction changed her viewpoint.
    “I learned how the long threads from the tapestry of history reach out and touch my daily life that has given a greater significance to my military service,” she said. “He is preeminently deserving of this great award for his unique ability to teach CGSOC students not only history but to become better leaders in modern military thought.”
    Wagner and Steed agreed that they found it rewarding to teach service members.
    “Teaching soldiers, I know we are influencing the future,” Wagner said.
    “(At CGSC) the student population is the perfect student population because they have been in the Army long enough to know what they need to know. They’ve actually practiced this,” Steed said. “These guys are serious enough to apply it and they’re humble enough that they know they need to learn.”
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