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Teachers of Year visit Legislative Hall
Delaware 2017 Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner, joined by the state’s 2017 District and Charter Teachers of the Year, addressed legislators in both chambers today after lawmakers passed a concurrent resolution honoring the educators. Governor John Carney also invited the teachers to his office for a meeting.
The resolution sponsors were Rep. Earl Jaques and Sen. David Sokola, who chair the House and Senate’s respective education committees.
In her address, Turner, a second grade teacher at Brandywine School District’s Mount Pleasant Elementary School, talked to lawmakers about the importance of educating the whole child.
“We do it by attending to students’ emotional, physical and intellectual development,” Turner said. “What good is mastery of academic content, skills and standards if students do not have the vehicle to take it forth out in the world to make a difference, using compassion and empathy to build relationships and succeed?”
Turner said this is especially true for students whose lives have been impacted by trauma.
“We teach students who are food insecure, homeless, victims of abuse and neglect, live in foster care or through divorce or the loss of a parent. Many of these students come to school lacking a secure emotional base, which can inhibit their learning and prevent them from forming the relationships they need to be successful,” she said.
Turner advocated for support of the Compassionate Schools framework, which is being used in some Delaware schools.
“The program implements compassionate and effective restorative practices in discipline, trains and supports staff on trauma and learning and weaves compassionate strategies into school improvement planning,” she said.
The program also trains and supports staff in regards to trauma and learning, restorative practices and teacher self-care, Turner said. “So by committing to this work, we will commit to teachers as well.”
The 2017 District/Charter Teachers of the Year are:
• Olivia A. Suchanec, Appoquinimink School District’s Everett Meredith Middle School, Grade 6 social studies
• Wendy Turner, Brandywine School District’s Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, Grade 2
• Melissa Rapp, Caesar Rodney School District’s Caesar Rodney High School, Grade 9 history
• Melissa Dawson, Cape Henlopen School District’s Rehoboth Elementary School, Grade 1
• Michele Johnson, Capital School District’s Towne Point Elementary, gifted & talented /library media specialist
• Kristin E. Roberts, Christina School District’s Bancroft Elementary School, Grades K-2 special education English language arts & mathematics
• Sarah Bateman, Colonial School District’s New Castle Elementary School, Grade 3
• Kristen Jones, Delmar School District’s Delmar Middle School, Grades 5-8 business education
• Melissa L. Grise, Indian River School District’s John M. Clayton Elementary, Grade 4
• Heather M. Melvin, Lake Forest School District’s Lake Forest North Elementary, Grade 1
• Emily Edmonds-Eveland, Las Americas ASPIRA Academy Charter School, Grade 4
• Erin Brennan, Laurel School District’s North Laurel Elementary School, Grade 2
• Julie A. Hickman, Milford School District’s Mispillion Elementary, Grade 5
• Jermaine Anthony Williams, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District’s St. Georges Technical High School, culinary arts / co-op coordinator
• Dennis J. Haley, POLYTECH School District’s POLYTECH High School, Grades 9-12 computer engineering technology
• Holly M. Golder, Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Grades 8, 12 social studies
• Nikki Bean, Seaford School District’s Blades Elementary School, Grade 1
• Jennifer McCutchan, Smyrna School District’s Smyrna Middle School, Grades 7-8 music
• Vincent James Colombo, Sussex Technical School District’s Sussex Technical High School, Grades 9-10 physical science and biology
• James R. Weiler, Woodbridge School District’s Woodbridge High School, Grades 9, 11 English language arts