Award Honorees

Ed Haley

During a career in education that spanned 45 years, Ed Haley found himself doing exactly what he loved to do each and every day – educating and offering guidance to young people.

"He never spoke of desiring another career," says Haley's daughter, Sharon Hermel. "Teaching was it for him."

It certainly was. Haley arrived at Excelsior High School in 1945 after spending a number of years teaching in Garden City, Minnesota. His educational versatility was put to good use, as he, at one time or another, taught every subject offered at the school, except for home economics, and coached football, basketball and baseball.

Kids were his "passion," notes Hermel, adding that her father, who died in 1988, did his best to instill in each and every one of them the tools needed to excel and contribute to society.

"He (said) that education was the key and the ticket to surviving and succeeding in life," Hermel says. Tops on his wish list was to give all students an ability to read well and comprehend what they had read.

"He often stated, 'Within the pages of books, a person can learn about anyone, anything, anywhere in the world,'" she recalls When the Minnetonka School District was formed in the early 1950s, Haley taught at Excelsior Junior High for a number of years.

After earning a master's in educational psychology, he spent the remainder of his distinguished career as a guidance counselor, retiring in 1974 from West Junior High.

In a recent letter to Hermel, one of Haley's former students, Bob Abel of Abel Heating in Excelsior, relayed a touching story about a meeting he had with "Mr. Haley" long ago. At the time, Abel was a 14-year-old trying to earn an Eagle Scout "Citizenship in the Community" merit badge.

"I had to go to Ed's office ... and be able to answer questions from him about how the community functioned, etc., and what it means to be a good citizen," Abel wrote. "As he could do so well, he put on his serious face and made me sweat a little – but then at the end gave that little smile that let (me) know he was always cheering for ... us crazy kids. It was one of the hardest but most satisfying merit badges I received."

When asked what her father instilled in his own family, Hermel noted that his passion for education prompted two of his sons and two grandchildren to become instructors and educators.

As for Hermel, "I returned to college at age 45 and completed my degree at age 50 – he would have been so proud."


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