Patrick Coffey, 2011 winner of the Distinguished Teacher Award

Patrick Coffey of Wauwatosa, Wis., has been honored with the Mensa Foundation’s 2011 Distinguished Teacher Award. He was nominated by his student, Melinda Mastel, who is a member of American Mensa. He is Melinda’s international relations teacher at Brookfield East High School. He received a plaque and a cash award from the Mensa Foundation.

Coffey was presented the Distinguished Teacher Award at a school board meeting in September. Mensa of Wisconsin President Ellen Voie presented the award on behalf of the Foundation.

In an essay titled “International Coffey Brews Inspiration,” 14-year-old Melinda writes: “Mr. Coffey’s approach to international relations classes has sparked my interest in world cultures, mobilized my volunteerism, and set my future career path.”  Because of Coffey’s encouragement, Melinda is considering a career in international relations, political science or public health because she wants to make a difference in the world.

“Awarding the Distinguished Teacher award to Patrick Coffey is the Mensa Foundation’s way of saying thank you for the contributions he gives to students every day,” said Greg Timmers, president of the Mensa Foundation. “The essays we receive from students who nominate their teachers are a testimony of the inspiration they receive from their educators.”

Coffey received his bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1991 and his master's degree in 20th-century American history from Marquette University in 1993. He is a certified online teacher, a teacher trainer for the College Board (AP Program), and has been a test reader since 2001.