Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Dorchester District Two celebrated its teachers May 9 with a special ceremony honoring them. Over the next few issues we will pay homage to these exceptional leaders by printing the tributes written about them.
Teachers of the Year
Knightsville Elementary School
In her 16 years teaching physical education at Knightsville Elementary, Lila Beckham has earned the reputation as a school leader and a teacher’s teacher.” Principal Wally Baird describes Lila as a master teacher who differentiates every lesson to meet the needs of each child. In her role teaching physical education to all students at Knightsville she has learned that each and every child has worth and talent.
She welcomes the opportunity to influence their lives by helping them find the leader within and to reach their potential personally and educationally. Lila is excited every day to learn more about her students but as important to learn from them.
She says that there is not a day that goes by that she does not learn something from her students…how to not take things seriously, how to be strong in the face of adversity, or how to stand up and try again.
Newington Elementary School
Meagan Anderson remembers that the teachers who had the most influence in her life were ones that she had developed a relationship with beyond academics. In her 2nd grade classroom at Newington Elementary, her first priority is to nurture a relationship with each one of her students so they feel safe, respected and valued.
She firmly believes that the learning environment that a teacher fosters in the classroom has more to do with student achievement than with the curriculum. Students feel comfortable to take risks, to ask questions, and to feel successful at the end of the day.
They have a zest for learning. Participating in the training of future teachers is important to her so she welcomes student teachers and teacher cadets whenever possible. She is quick to add that the network of teachers supporting her at Newington have made her the teacher she is today.
Oakbrook Elementary School
Oakbrook Elementary School Principal Monica O’Dea describes Becky Accolla as follows: “She knows children. She knows teaching. She knows strategies for student success.” In her five years at the school teaching fifth grade, Becky has gained a reputation as an excellent team player with a “can-do” attitude.
This was clearly evidenced when she developed a model classroom for inclusion for the district when it was first started in special education. Teaching her inclusion class and her GATE class has provided her with experiences to reach all learning styles which she has accomplished with great success.
Becky shares her thoughts on teaching in these words, “Teaching is a rewarding path in life, one with twists, turns, and bumps, but what I have gained along the journey has been the ultimate reward and will continue to be.”
Oakbrook Middle School
Erin Craddock has created a culture of learning in her 8th grade science classes at Oakbrook Middle. She has a rare combination of instructional focus, intense content knowledge, but relaxed delivery methods that results in quality instruction.
But more importantly, her connection with her students has resulted in academic success and few behavior problems in her classes. Erin believes that one of her greatest contributions to teaching is her advocacy for parental involvement. This is a challenge for any teacher but particularly in the middle school.
She has instituted a program to involve parents in their child’s learning through interactive homework. It requires students and their parents to work together on a science activity at home. The results have been amazing with positive feedback from both parents and students. Erin believes that teaching is a career that takes passion, creativity, flexibility and a caring heart.
River Oaks Middle School
Allison Blanton’s path to the classroom has not been a direct one. She received a degree in English before returning to college within a year to earn a degree in education. Becoming a teacher was something she struggled with and against before realizing it was truly where she belonged.
For the past three years she has taught 6th grade reading at River Oaks Middle School and there she has realized that teaching is indeed her calling. River Oaks has been a wonderful place for her to work and develop as a teacher. Having the experience of teaching an inclusion class, Allison has been reminded that all students can learn, but that they learn differently.
She believes that in a creative learning environment all students can thrive.
Principal Scott Matthews describes Allison as a caring person who wants only the best for her students.
Margaret “Meg” Skow
Rollings Middle School of the Arts
A veteran educator of over 30 years, Meg Skow has shared her passion for art and her commitment to teaching all children with hundreds of Dorchester District Two students. She feels her greatest contribution in education begins in her classroom at Rollings Middle School of the Arts.
She is dedicated to the success of each student as they gain new skills and build confidence in their abilities. She encourages students to expand their skills and techniques through experimentation and practice.
She models that behavior through her affiliation with state and national professional art associations students have benefited from numerous resources. Most recently she has earned the distinction of achieving her National Board Certification. This is a true testament to the high goals and expectations she sets for herself as well as her students.
Spann Elementary School
If teacher of the year was a senior high school superlative, Principal Shane Sanford says that Brindley Lowe would be “Best All round.” He continues, “She exemplifies the commitment and love of children needed by any educator worth their salt.” For the past seven years she has taught art to every one of Spann’s 850 students.
Brindley regularly collaborates with regular education teachers to plan and team teach arts infused lessons incorporating state standards. She cites one of her greatest accomplishments has been writing and receiving the Arts Curriculum Innovation Grant of $20,000 that has made possible after school art clubs and other enrichment resources for students.
Brindley sees these resources as providing opportunities that open endless doors and avenues for her students to help them achieve their dreams.