Tribute to Teachers: Dr. Philip Schulte shares his word smarts at Pompano Beach Elementary

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Every year, Local 10′s Tribute to Teachers campaign recognizes the best educators in South Florida, with only five honorees selected from hundreds of nominations.

Dr. Philip Schulte has a Ph.D. in marine science, but this husband and father of five, chooses to grow little minds at Pompano Beach Elementary School.

The master wordsmith and veteran Head Start teacher introduces his pupils to multi syllable words using show and tell.

‘Cumbersome.’ Say it with me . . . not heavy.” Words like “caveat” and “epiphany” are being explained to the four and five your olds who are watching him wide-eyed.

With Tribute to Teachers, Local 10 had a big – or as Dr. Schulte would say – a gargantuan surprise for him; watching him teach was a lesson for us, too.

He held their attention with props, a plant with a drooping leaf.

“We don’t say dead leaf,” he asked. He helped them as they figured out the words that it was actually “dehydrated” and starting to “decompose.” Big words for little ones.

He even explained words in Latin.

“When I make a mistake, I say what? ‘Mea culpa.’ It’s a way of saying ‘My bad.’ "

Shazette Small, principal of Pompano Beach Elementary says his “out of the box” approach and how much he cares for his students makes him so deserving of being selected in our Tribute to Teachers.

“He goes above and beyond when it comes to educating our students,” said Small. “It doesn’t matter where they come from, what they look like, he understands that everybody deserves an opportunity to learn.”

For the 30-year-veteran teacher, he says the children have taught him much, too.

“A lot of parents and a lot of adults don’t give children the credit they deserve. They can do a lot more than you think they can,” said Schulte.

Publix Super Markets’ Media Relations Manager Robyn Hankerson was with us to present Schulte with a gift.

“Because of the gargantuan impact Mr. Schulte is making, Publix is excited to give a little abundance to him. And that $1,000 gift card we’re granting him with, we’re hoping he can do phenomenal things for himself and for his classroom.”

To see the stories of all the winners, click here.

All of the winning teachers will be introduced each day this week during Local 10′s 5:30 p.m. newscast.

About the Author:

Mayte Padron Cordones is an Emmy-award winning journalist and the director of WPLG's Community Relations Department, overseeing the station's outreach initiatives to benefit and strengthen the South Florida community.