Wakulla County School-Level Teachers of the Year 2011

By: Wakulla County School District Press Release
By: Wakulla County School District Press Release

Superintendent David Miller announced the school-level 2011 Teachers of the Year on December 10, 2010. Surprising the teachers with flowers, candy, and balloons, Superintendent Miller received enthusiastic responses from students as he entered each classroom to present the honor to their teacher.

The eight Teachers of the Year for 2011 are: Jan Pearce for Crawfordville Elementary; Kathy Briggs for Medart Elementary; Laura Hume for Riversink Elementary; Christina Nall for Shadeville Elementary; Marlene Adams for Riversprings Middle; Joe Rozanski for Wakulla Middle; Kasey Hollington for Wakulla High School; and Ashley Anderson representing the district-wide professionals.

Nominations from each school’s faculty began the process in November, and then nominees submitted professional and biographical information forms for their faculties to read. Faculties then voted for their school’s Teacher of the Year. Selected teachers’ names were concealed until Superintendent Miller visited each school on December 10.

Jan Pearce of Crawfordville Elementary School has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and is certified in PreK /Primary Education (Age 3 – Grade 3). She currently teaches Kindergarten and is in her 8th year of teaching.

She believes that “effective teaching is the intentional connection with students to nurture, inspire, and challenge them to make positive connections with the world around them. Simply put, teachers create learning magic for their students!”

Pearce keeps involved with education in many ways, including as School Improvement Chair, Grade Level Chair, member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for women educators, and member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Kathy Briggs of Medart Elementary has a Bachelor’s degree in History with certification in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and has the Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement. She has been teaching for 9 years and currently is working with kindergarten through second grade students with Emotional Behavior Disorders (EBD).

She believes that “school needs to be a safe and stable place where kids can feel safe and secure. Every student can learn no matter what their ability, and standards should be set high.”

Briggs participated in writing the District Behavior Plan, helps with the Special Olympics, has been the Yearbook sponsor, and is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma.

Riversink Elementary chose fifth grade teacher Laura Hume. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Exceptional Student Education, plus has Middle Grades Integrated certification (Grades 5-9). She has been in education for 5 years.

Hume states, “The concept of effective teaching is reflective of a teacher’s ability to have high expectations, a readiness for change, and the compassion and understanding for diversity in learning.”

Some of her involvements include: School Improvement Co-chair, member Delta Kappa Gamma, Clinical Educator, and presenter on the NASA Space Shuttle program and its future.

Shadeville Elementary voted for National Board Certified teacher Christina Nall to represent their school. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is working on both the Gifted Endorsement and the Reading Endorsement. This is her 6th year in education.

Nall states, “I enjoy learning about new ideas and concepts. I believe my students notice this and that my example of approaching learning with excitement will inspire them to do the same.”

She serves on the Textbook Review Committee, the Technology Team, helps organize the Spelling Bee, and is a Mentor to a new teacher.

Marlene Adams is the representative for Riversprings Middle School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education (Grades K – 6), plus earned the Reading Endorsement. This is her 7th year in education, and she is now teaching 6th grade Reading and Language Arts.

Adams notes, “The joy of teaching is the opportunity to learn more from situations, students, fellow teachers, and basically from all areas of life.”

She is a member of the Wakulla County Teachers Association (WCTA), the National Education Association (NEA), is the sponsor for Student Council, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), Chess Club, Art Club, and the National Geographic Bee.

Joe Rozanski is the Wakulla Middle School selection. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is certified in Middle Grades Integrated and Social Sciences (Grades 5-9). He currently teaches 6th grade Math and Science and has been teaching for 19 years.

He believes “each student is a unique individual who needs a caring, secure, and stimulating atmosphere in which to develop and mature socially, intellectually and emotionally.”

Rozanski has attended training in the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) that targets good students in the “middle” who would benefit from a college prep curriculum. He teaches AVID strategies to other educators, and is a member of the AVID Site Team. He also is Grade Level Chair, Community Involvement Coordinator, School Newspaper Coordinator, and the WMS Wrestling coach.

Kasey Hollington represents Wakulla High School as their Teacher of the Year. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. In education for 8 years, currently she teaches Advanced Placement United States History and American History Honors, plus serves as a part-time Dean of Discipline and Student Affairs.

She observes, “My favorite quote is ‘they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’. Effective teaching requires putting the time and effort into getting to know your students, so that you can motivate and engage them.”

Her involvements include: Social Studies Department Head, Student Government Sponsor, Junior Class Sponsor, AVID training, and previously Varsity Cheerleading coach from 2003-2008.

Ashley Anderson is the teacher representing all district-wide professionals who work in several schools. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Social Work, is certified in Educational Leadership, plus is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She has worked in education for 10 years and now serves the Wakulla Pre-K children at Wakulla Educational Center and Sopchoppy Educational Center.

Anderson believes “that the key to effective teaching is communicating with and involving the student’s family throughout the teaching process.”

She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Florida Association of Infant Mental Health. Selected Teacher of the Year in 2007 to represent district-wide professionals, she also is very involved with the Special Olympics.

These eight are now in the running for Wakulla County’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, who will be announced at the end of January. A qualified panel of judges from outside of Wakulla County will rate a written packet and an interview from each teacher. The 2011 Wakulla County Teacher of the Year will then compete with the other 66 districts’ Teachers of the Year for the Florida Teacher of the Year award in the spring.

All Wakulla County teachers will be honored at the Teacher of the Year Breakfast on March 11, 2011.


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