Lake Forest Central Elementary school teacher will now vie for national recognition
(Dover, DE.) – Mark Teesdale, a General Music and Chorus teacher in grades 4 and 5 at Lake Forest Central Elementary School in Felton has been chosen as Delaware’s Teacher of the Year for 2009. His selection as Delaware’s top educator makes Teesdale the forty-fifth Teacher of the Year since Delaware’s recognition program began in 1965.
Governor Ruth Ann Minner announced Mark as Delaware’s “top teacher” in front of 450 invited guests at the Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center in Dover, including educators, administrators, legislators, former State Teachers of the Year and business leaders. Delaware’s newest Teacher of the Year has twenty-five years of teaching experience including 18 years in New Jersey and seven years in Delaware.
In an earlier endorsement letter to the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, Lake Forest School District superintendent Dan Curry, Ed.D., recommended his support for Mark. “Mr. Teesdale is the ‘Pied Piper’ of Lake Forest. The children love him, love music and love to perform. He believes strongly that, in this age of pressures for higher academic performance, many children will not reach their fullest potential without significant fine arts experiences. He fully understands that reading music is a skill that transfers to and strengthens reading skills. He understands that performing strengthens a child’s vocabulary and oral communications.”
In 1983, Mark received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. In January 2006, he graduated from Wilmington University with a Master of Education degree while maintaining a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average.
Following his graduation from West Chester, Mark began teaching general music and choir in grades 1-8 at Saint Joan of Arc School in Marlton, New Jersey. From 1985 to 1990, he taught general music and chorus in grades K-6 at Fort Dix Elementary School in New Jersey. From 1990 to 2001, Mark taught general music and chorus in grades 4-6 at the Marcus Newcomb School in Pemberton, New Jersey. In 2001, Mark came to Lake Forest Central Elementary School where he remains today.
Since arriving at Lake Forest, Mark has been extremely active with staff development, leadership activities and professional memberships. He has been a member of the Positive Behavior Support Leadership Team for the past five years, been involved in a curriculum integration project and has educated new Lake Forest teachers on a technology-based reading program. He is a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, the Delaware Music Educators Association and the National Association for Music Education.
The newly-selected Teacher of the Year has also received many accolades and awards over his long career. Mark received a $10,000 prize from the Oscar Meier Schoolhouse Rocks program and also received Lake Forest’s “Going the Extra Mile” award as well as Lake Forest Central Elementary School Teacher of the Year for 2008-2009.
When asked about his philosophy on teaching, Teesdale stated, “Teachers are given the most awesome responsibility in the world. We are entrusted with shaping the minds of children. As a music teacher, I do my best to take that idea one step further and aim to touch their souls. A background in music and an understanding of music will help students develop into adults that will lead fuller lives. I strive to install in all students an awareness of music’s important role in the enrichment of the human spirit.” Added Teesdale, “The rewards in teaching are numerous. I am given rewards everyday. The students are happy and proud of what they have accomplished. This is my reward.”
The process of selecting Delaware’s Teacher of the Year is very demanding and is designed to find that teacher who is most representative of the entire teaching profession. Through in-class observations, portfolio reviews and consideration of finalists by a representative panel, the process finds that one person who will become this year’s Teacher of the Year for Delaware.
Teesdale now inherits an enormous task from outgoing Teacher of the Year Courtney Fox by representing all teachers in Delaware. He will address community groups, business leaders, legislators, and educational organizations in an effort to inform the public about the status of Delaware schools. Mark will also become Delaware’s entrant in the National Teacher of the Year Program, presented by the ING Foundation and a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.
By action of the General Assembly, Teesdale will receive a $5000 grant to use for the educational benefit of his students, as well two personal grants totaling an additional $5000. The remaining 18 school district candidates will each receive a personal grant of $2000.
Teesdale will also receive an educational technology package valued at approximately $17,000 from the SMARTer Kids Foundation. The package includes a SMART Board(tm) interactive whiteboard, floor stand and software; an NEC VT465 portable projector from NEC Solutions America; creative- learning software from Immersive Education; and a 32-pad Classroom Performance System from eInstruction Corporation.
The new Teacher of the Year will also receive a Dell laptop computer; a $1,000 grant for educational/classroom use from Pearson; grants from the Delaware State Education Association, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Professional Standards Board; a State of Delaware Teacher of the Year license plate from the Division of Motor Vehicles; free graduate-level courses from Delaware’s higher education institutions; a gold watch from the Delaware State Teachers of the Year Association and lunch in Washington D.C. with Senator Thomas R. Carper.
Other organizations that made presentations to the newly-selected Teacher of the Year include: the Delaware Chief School Officers Association; Delaware Association of School Administrators; Delaware School Boards Association; University of Delaware; Delaware State University; Wesley College; Delaware Technical and Community College; Delaware Association of Student Councils; the Future Educators of America and the Upper Cut of Dover.
Delaware’s Department of Education is committed to promoting the highest quality education for every Delaware student by providing visionary leadership and superior service.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
Other Press Releases