Ruth Phillips wins state forensics educator award

Stoughton High School art teacher and forensic speech coach Ruth Phillips holds the Lyn Luce Leadership Award, given to her last month by the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association..

Stoughton High School art teacher and forensic speech coach Ruth Phillips was recognized for excellence by the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association last month, and got a little bit of unexpected camera time in the process.

Phillips was recognized with the annual Lyn Luce Leadership Award, along with Wrightstown High School English language arts teacher and forensic speech coach David Winkler, at a live virtual ceremony Wednesday, May 20.

Phillips is the WHSFA District 11 Chair, coordinating speech festivals throughout south central Wisconsin, according to a WHSFA news release.

“As a forensic speech coach, Phillips works tirelessly with students to cultivate constant improvement, and builds a lasting rapport for which she is respected by colleagues,” read the release. “As a servant-leader of her peers, she masterfully deescalates tensions and fosters proactive planning and communication to ensure contests in her area run smoothly.”

Phillips said she was truly honored to receive the award, and credited working with “so many outstanding coaches that share the same passion.”

“I was extremely touched that I was nominated and won,” she wrote in an email to the Hub.

Phillips said it was even more “nerve-wracking” to accept the award in front of a camera, much less all her peers and students.

“Experiencing teaching in the virtual world has given me more opportunities in front of the camera, but I still miss being with students and my peers,” she said.

SASD athletic/activities director Mel Dow called Phillips an “extremely dedicated advocate for her students and those within the forensics program.”

“She is passionate about providing opportunities and finding out ways to accomplish them,” he wrote in an email to the Hub. “Even when she has many things on her plate, she steps up, again and again, to ensure the students are taken care of.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.