Bill McBride and Paul De Maret at the 2009 NCTE Convention in Philadelphia, where Bill received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Teachers of English
Bill McBride and Paul De Maret at the 2009 NCTE Convention in Philadelphia, where Bill received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Teachers of English

The William G. McBride Endowment honors Bill McBride, who taught for 45 years in Colorado schools, including Manzanola, Poudre and Fort Collins High Schools, and Colorado State University. Established when he retired in 1998, the endowment continues Bill’s legacy of ensuring quality English Language Arts teachers for secondary schools.

In 2014, the endowment reached the level at which it can support one public school teacher to teach a limited number of classes in the CSU English Education program biennially.

Bill selected Paul De Maret as the first McBride Teacher-Scholar.

Improving Education through Partnerships

Throughout his career, Bill McBride demonstrated to pre-service and in-service teachers the importance and possibility of seamlessly weaving research, theory, and practical experience in teaching and learning. Characteristically, he emphasized relationships and partnerships. For example, in 1973 or 1974, he and Bob Zach swapped classes in English Composition for the year in what department newsletter editors described as “an effort to insure the continuity of teaching efforts and enlarge their perspectives on high school and college students.” In 1976, Bill accompanied a group of CSU education faculty and 19 pre-service teachers on a four-day trip to Weldona on Colorado’s eastern plains to live with rural families, teach mini-lessons, and interact with teachers and students. In the late 1980s, he team-taught the methods class with Glenn Gray at Rocky Mountain High School. Before and throughout retirement, he led numerous train-the-trainer sessions for College Board’s curriculum programs, first Pacesetter then SpringBoard. Because of his long-term relationship with the College Board, teachers of CSU methods classes were allowed to use the materials as their “textbooks” for learning innovative teaching methods.

A teacher who participated in one of the exchanges with Bill wrote, “One of my ninth grade English classes was fortunate to have Dr. McBride as their instructor for one semester. In exchange, teaching an adolescent literature class at CSU during that same semester proved to be a challenging experience for me.” The endowment was established to advance partnerships in this tradition.

The McBride Teacher-Scholar and William G. McBride

Paul De Maret completed a B.A. in English at CSU in 1988, and he’s been in education since 1991, when he started as an English and social studies teacher in Houston, Texas. Following that, he completed an M.A. in English at CSU, then spent two years at the University of Wyoming, teaching College Composition, Introduction to Literature, and Technical Writing. From 1998-1999, he taught English in Japan before returning to Fort Collins and taking a position at Rocky Mountain High School as a Language Arts teacher and Forensic Speech and Debate coach. For the past 15 years, he’s taught everything from Creative Writing to Argumentation and Debate, and from English 9 to AP Literature and Composition.

Following in the footsteps of his former CSU teacher/adviser and longtime mentor/friend, Bill McBride, he also works as a writing consultant and national trainer for the College Board’s SpringBoard English Textual Power program. In fact, it’s his desire to honor Bill’s impact on his life that continues to motivate Paul to pursue excellence in the classroom and beyond. Paul’s wife, Jennifer, is a kindergarten teacher at McGraw Elementary, and his daughters Katherine (11) and Josephine (8) both attend PSD IB World Schools.

William G. McBride taught an estimated 10,000 students in his career and countless more indirectly through the teachers he prepared. His leadership in the state’s organization for English Language Arts teachers further shaped teaching and learning in Colorado schools. One of the founding members of the Colorado Language Arts Society, he served as president, conference program chair, and editor of both the journal and newsletter. He was the group’s executive secretary-treasurer for 23 years.

In 1950, Bill graduated from CSU with a BS in Animal Science. He earned a master’s degree and a lifetime certificate in teaching from the University of Northern Colorado in 1957 and a doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska in 1970. He joined the faculty at CSU in 1969. Honors and awards include Colorado Teacher of the Year, NCTE Distinguished Service Award, a College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Service Recognition, the CSU Harris T. Guard Award for distinguished teaching and service and election to the Poudre District School Board and NCTE’s Secondary Section Steering Committee. Perhaps the greatest honor for this consummate educator comes from the contact he has with the many former students who are now in teaching or other careers, raising families, and leading productive lives. What better words for a teacher to hear than these from a former student: “Long after you have quit teaching, you will still be teaching through me.”

McBride Teacher-Scholar Paul De Maret’s story in his own words.

How would you describe your work in the English Department?

As the McBride Teacher-Scholar, I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with the English Education Methods team, teaching the same class (Teaching Composition) that was the first class I took with Bill McBride 28 years ago.

What brought you to CSU?

As a professor, Bill McBride always had a foot in both the public school and post-secondary worlds. When he retired, the English Department wanted to do something to honor him, and the McBride Endowment was created with the intent of bringing in a public school teacher to teach an English Education class at CSU, continuing the link between secondary (in my case) and post-secondary classrooms.  Since Bill was my former teacher, undergraduate and graduate advisor, and mentor (a role he still fills today), I was honored to be asked to be the first recipient of the endowment.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

More than anything, I love the opportunity to mentor students. A close second, though, is the opportunity to work with people who challenge me to grow as a teacher. Last fall, I had the pleasure of co-teaching Teaching Composition with Louann Reid, and it was wonderful sharing ideas with her. I learned from her vast knowledge of current research and professional literature, and from watching her craft as a classroom teacher. The transition from teaching high school students to teaching English Ed students was significant, and I don’t think I could have managed it without Louann’s mentorship.

What is the biggest difference between CSU and where you usually teach?

I teach at Rocky Mountain High School and I’m also a national trainer for the College Board’s SpringBoard English Language Arts program. The students I’m teaching at CSU in the Teaching Composition class are a completely different audience than either of these audiences—and while that sounds kind of obvious, it’s something I’m still learning to adapt to. They’re emerging teachers, but most of them have no formal class experience yet. So their understanding of how to teach writing is largely informed by their own experience as writers and by their exploration of this subject in other methods classes. While I’ve got decades of experience with being able to read, and respond to, the needs of the other two audiences, I’m still learning how to do so with my E402 students.

Why are the Humanities important?

I think the Humanities are central to critical thinking and to understanding the complexities of culture and society.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in English, the Humanities?

In 5th grade, I wrote a 70-page mini-book on sharks, and I initially attended the University of Miami with the intent of becoming a marine biologist. But when I started taking a heavy load of science classes, I realized I wasn’t finding any joy in what I was doing. My mother was an English major—and sometime teacher—and I think that was always in the back of mind; but when I returned to Humanities classes, and my English classes in particular, I realized that I was on the right path because I was finding joy again.

What had the greatest influence on your career path?

Meeting Bill McBride. Everything I am today as a teacher, I can trace back to him and his impact on me. And that’s largely true of the kind of person I try to be, too.

What special project are you working on right now?

First and foremost, I’m trying to get better at teaching my class of prospective English teachers in E402. But I’m also, as part of the McBride Endowment, taking a class in Cognitive Theory and Learning Transfer, and I’m using it as a spring board to do research on the link between writing instruction, metacognition, and learning transfer. And I’m also involved in a SpringBoard effort to develop a computer program that analytically scores student essays to provide formative assessment feedback to the students and their teachers.

What moment in the classroom stands out as the most memorable?

I’ve been teaching for 25+ years, so there have been a lot of moments. But one recent one I’ll treasure was when Louann and I had Bill McBride visit our E402 class last semester and I got to see Bill standing in front of the classroom as he did when I was a student in the class 28 years ago.

What is your favorite thing to teach? Favorite thing about teaching?

I love doing close readings of film as a way to teach close readings of literature, but I also love teaching argumentative writing—which is probably why I’ve loved coaching debate for the past 15 years. I love that every lesson, every student, every class is different, and how I’m always surprised—and learning from—things students say and do in my classes.

What advice would you give a student taking a class in the English Department?

Get to know your teachers; most of us are in this profession because we love teaching, not just content.

What or who inspires you?

I’m always inspired by students who are eager to learn. They challenge me to do my best each day. I’m also inspired by Bill McBride. I can only dream of positively impacting as many students’ lives as he has over the course of his life.

What are you currently reading, writing?

I’m reading Scott Anderson’s Lawrence in Arabia.

When you’re not working, what do you do?

I spend time with my daughters, Katherine and Josephine, and my wife, Jennifer, including a lot of youth soccer games, gymnastics meets, ski trips, traveling, and family movie/game nights.

What don’t your colleagues know about you?

I’m the world’s biggest Jaws fan. I try to slip a clip or two from it into every class I teach at Rocky.

What will your students and/or the English department remember about you after you leave CSU?

That I was grateful for the chance to share my experience and knowledge with English Ed students, and that I tried to honor Bill McBride’s legacy every time I did so.

What will you take away from your time here?

A lot of memories of students who I hope will be able to maintain their passion and commitment as they confront the complex, rewarding, but sometimes overwhelming task of being a language arts educator.

The Future of the William G. McBride Endowment

We are grateful to the many donors who have helped us achieve the first of the endowment’s goals. Continued growth is necessary to reach the remaining goals: 1) to provide tuition for the teacher-scholar’s use toward an advanced degree; 2) to increase the frequency of the teacher-scholar from biennial to annual teaching at CSU; and 3) to provide more salary support as school districts are less able to do so. Contributions can be made to (browse for funds in the English department in the College of Liberal Arts and select McBride Endowment) or contact the Colorado State University Foundation, 410 University Services Center, Fort Collins, CO 80523. Phone: 970-491-7135.