ING Awards More than $245,000 to the Most Innovative Educators across the United States

September 7, 2006 Atlanta, GA and Clinton, TN Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

Each day in classrooms across the country, educators work hard to develop creative lesson plans and offer unique and effective ways to help their students succeed – often times dipping into their own pockets to help fund projects. However, these efforts may go unnoticed outside the classroom walls. ING, a global financial services company, has taken notice of these “unsung heroes” for more than a decade and is committed to recognizing and rewarding educators for their hard work.

The ING Unsung Heroes awards program recognizes kindergarten through 12th grade educators nationwide for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects, and ability to make a positive influence on the children they teach. Since handing out the first award in 1996, the program has now awarded more than $2.5 million to more than 1000 educators across the United States.

ING today announced that after receiving more than 1,100 applications this year and choosing 100 initial $2,000 award winners, Scotty Herrell, a teacher at Clinton Middle School in Clinton, TN, has been selected to receive the top prize in the 2006 ING Unsung Heroes awards program. As the winner, Herrell will receive an additional $25,000 for his “Extreme Makeover: Middle School Edition” service learning program.

Herrell’s program will teach students how to use engineering principles for civic purposes in their community and beyond. The project will help improve the homes of those touched by tragedy through the application of carpentry, landscaping and design skills by his students. Participating students will complete projects after school, on weekends and on breaks. Students will also aid in the selection of makeover applicants, showing their involvement throughout the entire process. Key learning skills will be addressed over the course of the program as students apply math, science, and pre-engineering principles to their design and construction ideas. In the future, Herrell would like to expand the program so they can purchase a dilapidated house and fix it up from start to finish and then sell it to a low-income family for a reasonable amount. He then wants to donate the proceeds to continue training centers in the area. Not only will Herrell’s program redesign homes for those in need, it will redesign students into community change-agents ready to makeover the world.

”Through Scotty’s efforts we have seen the level of excitement and motivation among our students increase tremendously,“ said Sue Voskamp, principal of Clinton Middle School. “His dedication and excitement about the program provides our students the opportunity to experience the excitement of learning and service and has a lasting impact on the community. Scotty sets high standards for his students, and works very hard to see that they are met. I have never known a finer and more dedicated teacher than Scotty Herrell.“

“ING is proud to honor educators like Scotty Herrell as they strive to make a difference in the lives of America’s schoolchildren,” said Bill Jasien, senior vice president of ING U.S. Financial Services. “Our company is committed to education, and at the heart of it are teachers who work tirelessly and go above and beyond in their dedication to our youth. ING is honored to award these teachers across the United States and to be a part of building a strong foundation for our future leaders of tomorrow.”

The second place award for the 2006 ING Unsung Heroes awards program went to Brian Smithers of Portland, OR for his “Waste Not, Want Not: Making Vegetable Bio-fuel from Waste Vegetable Oil” program. The program gives at-risk participants in grades sixth through eighth a chance to develop a usable alternate fuel. The idea behind the project is to make enough fuel to replace all of the school’s unleaded fuel vehicles with those operated by diesel fuel. Smithers and his class want to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that the school consumes. Smithers and Open Meadow Middle School were awarded $12,000.

The third place award went to Michael St. Pierre for his “Computer Architecture Learn & Serve” program to help salvage old computers and computer parts. His students refurbish donated computers and parts and put them back into working circulation in classrooms, libraries, and community-based programs as well as homes of children in such programs as ESL (English as a Second Language) and special education. St. Pierre and South Lafourche High School were awarded $7,000.

To learn about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes website at Applications for the 2007 ING Unsung Heroes awards are available by calling 1 (800) 537-4180 or emailing

Press inquiries

Jemia Kinsey
BLH Consulting, Inc. on behalf of ING U.S. Financial Services
(404) 433-9614

Caroline Campbell, ING U.S. Financial Services
(212) 309-5931

About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to over 60 million private, corporate and institutional clients in over 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 113,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.

ING is a leader in providing 403(b) plans to kindergarten through12th grade educators and other employees of nonprofit organizations in America. In the U.S., ING offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients that includes retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, life insurance, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance.

Currently, ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves more than 15 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit