Brandywine High School teacher will now vie for national recognition
(Dover, DE.) – Mary Pinkston, a high school mathematics teacher at Brandywine High School in Wilmington has been chosen as Delaware’s Teacher of the Year for 2010. Her selection as Delaware’s top educator makes Pinkston the forty-sixth Teacher of the Year since Delaware’s recognition program began in 1965.
Governor Jack Markell announced Mary 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 17 years teaching experience, all of which have been with the Brandywine School District.
In an earlier endorsement letter to the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, Brandywine High School’s Assistant Principal Cordie Greenlea recommended her support for Mary. “Ms. Pinkston has a passion and desire for her students. She works to ensure that her students are proficient and successful in the courses she teachers. She sets high expectations and establishes clear goals for her students to reach. She works along side her students so that they understand that there is a partnership. This is evidenced by the number of students who request her courses each year as well as the number of students who complete her courses and graduate to higher education.”
Another endorsement came from a former student, Kaitlyn Steffan, a 2007 Brandywine High School graduate, in a letter directly to Ms. Pinkston. “You were the teacher that all of my fellow classmates seemed to respect the most. I think I can speak for all of them when I say it is because you had faith in us. You knew what we were capable of doing, even if we did not, and you never gave up on us.” Kaitlyn continued, “You helped me re-discover why I want to be a teacher in the first place. If I could make a group of students, or even just one student a day feel the way you made me feel, then I will be eternally satisfied.” Kaitlyn is attending Salisbury University majoring in Elementary Education.
In 1992, Mary received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from the University of Delaware in Newark, graduating Cum Laude. In 1995, she received a Master in Education Curriculum and Instruction: Specializing in Secondary Mathematics, also from the University of Delaware. In 2003, Mary became a National Board Certified Teacher, Adolescent/Young Adulthood Mathematics.
Beginning in 1992, Mary began her teaching career at Mount Pleasant High School, teaching a wide variety of courses including basic computer programming, Honors Algebra II, Honors Pre-Calculus, Math II, prepared Math Competencies workbook, and SAT Preparatory course. That same year, she transferred to Concord High School teaching Math I, Math II and Geometry. In 1994, she moved to Brandywine High School where she has taught or teaches Honors Calculus, Pre-Calculus, Honors Algebra II, Algebra I part II, Algebra I Part I, Geometry, Algebra II, Math I, Math II, Core Plus Math I and Math II.
Since becoming a teacher, Mary has received many honors and awards including the Delaware State Board of Education Order of Excellence (2004); Delaware Secretary of Education Merit Award (2004); National Board Certified Teacher (2003); Brandywine High School Teacher of the Year (2002, 2009) and Brandywine School District Teacher of the Year (2009).
Mary is also involved in numerous professional association memberships including: Brandywine Education Association; Delaware State Education Association; National Education Association; Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society; Delaware Council of Teachers of Mathematics; and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
When asked about her philosophy on teaching, Pinkston wrote, “There are no greater awards for me in this profession than when I see student’s eyes light up when they finally understand a concept, grow to become independent learners, begin to appreciate mathematics, and express gratitude about how much they’ve learned. When past graduates stop by to chat or simply say thank you, it reminds me that all of the hard work I put in behind the scenes preparing lesson plans, grading papers, and planning different activities is appreciated.” Added Pinkston, “In my opinion, a good teacher is one that is a good role model, cares for students, loves the selected discipline, wants to share knowledge, has a good sense of humor, and is willing to accept the fact that there is always room for self-improvement. I strive to improve everyday.”
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.
Pinkston now inherits an enormous task from outgoing Teacher of the Year Mark Teesdale by representing all teachers in Delaware. She will address community groups, business leaders, legislators, and educational organizations in an effort to inform the public about the status of Delaware schools. Mary 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, Pinkston will receive a $5000 grant to use for the educational benefit of her students, as well two personal grants totaling an additional $5000. The remaining 19 school district candidates will each receive a personal grant of $2000.
Pinkston 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.
Delaware’s newest 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 commemorative 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; and the Future Educators of America.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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