The eight Teachers of the Year for 2010 are: Chris Martin for Pre-K; Cindy Loney for Crawfordville Elementary; Annette Allen for Medart Elementary; Diane Driggers for Riversink Elementary; Linda Sharp for Shadeville Elementary; Mina Sutton for Riversprings Middle; Regina Strickland for Wakulla Middle; and Sarabeth Jones for Wakulla High School.
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 11.
Chris Martin represents Wakulla County’s Pre-Kindergarten program. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working in Wakulla County schools for 11 years, although she worked as Director/Teacher at Trinity Lutheran Preschool for nine years prior to that.
Martin notes, “It is my goal to help children feel good about themselves, secure enough to experiment and explore, to make mistakes, and to try again.”
In addition to teaching, she is the PTA secretary, a member of the Pre-K Positive Behavior Support Committee, and a member of the National Education Association.
Cindy Loney of Crawfordville Elementary School has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is working on her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She currently teaches first grade and has taught for 20 years.
She believes that it is her responsibility to prepare her students for “the inevitable changes that will occur in their lives. In order to do that I must get to know each student’s personality, learning style, and academic level. . .so I can create the best learning environment possible.”
Loney keeps involved with education in many ways, including as textbook chairman, member of both the District Reading Committee and the Intervention Support Team, and she has been inducted into the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for women educators.
Annette Allen of Medart Elementary has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She has been teaching for 22 years and currently is working with second graders.
She believes that “if a child has ownership for his education then he will work harder to achieve success. An effective teacher will continue to learn and improve teaching skills so that he or she can reach all students.”
Allen is a grade level chairman, a Science Committee member, and has been the textbook chairman for 17 years.
Riversink Elementary chose fourth grade teacher Diane Driggers. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning. A National Board Certified teacher, she has been in education for 17 years.
Driggers states, “Our lessons need to contain some element of fun so that students begin to find the joy of learning. If we can instill that joy in them, then we open up doors for them that will never be closed.”
Some of her involvements include: Mary Brogan Museum Educational Partner, FAIR Master Trainer, Delta Kappa Gamma, WCTA, and National Science Teachers Association. She also is an adjunct professor at Flagler College/Tallahassee Campus where she teaches Elementary Math Methods to future educators.
Shadeville Elementary voted for guidance counselor Linda Sharp to represent their school. She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology, certification in Biology grades 6-12, and has a Specialist degree in Guidance and Counseling, grades K-12. This is her 14th year in education.
Sharp believes, “A truly effective teacher understands that all students have special needs that influence the way they learn. He/she takes time to get to know each student and works to provide the support and resources necessary to help students maximize their potential as learners.”
She is Shadeville’s Student Council Sponsor, is a member of the American School Counselor Association, and is on the Project Learning Tree Committee and the Positive Behavior Support Team.
Mina Sutton is the representative for Riversprings Middle School. With her Bachelor’s degree in Art Education, she taught at Wakulla High School for 14 years and is now in her 10th year at RMS.
She notes, “I have always presented a variety of art assignments for two reasons. One, to allow students to succeed in areas they are comfortable and secondly, to encourage students to try media they may be unfamiliar with.”
Sutton is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, the Wakulla Art Teachers Association, and the Wakulla County Arts Coalition. She has coached cheerleading at WHS and RMS for a combined 13 years, has been a WHS Senior Class sponsor, is co-sponsor of the RMS Drama Club, and Assistant Yearbook sponsor at RMS.
Regina Strickland is the Wakulla Middle School selection. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is certified in Exceptional Student Education K -12. She currently teaches students with disabilities in grades 6-8 and has been teaching for 26 years.
Creating an atmosphere conducive to learning is important to her, and she believes “that the teacher should have high expectations and standards for students and hold them to this. I believe the teacher should be a role model in the school as well as in the community.”
Strickland is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, on the Language Arts/Reading Committee, and is a sponsor of the Foster Grandparent Program through the Department of Elder Affairs. She is also involved with Special Olympics and active in her church as a nursery school teacher and as a Girls in Action leader.
Sarabeth Jones represents Wakulla High School as their Teacher of the Year. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocational and Industrial Arts and is certified in Business Education, grades 6-12. In education for 30 years, currently she serves as a Career Specialist, teaching all the On-the-Job Training (OJT) students and managing grants for the eight Career and Technical programs such as the Medical Academy, Carpentry, Web Design, and Culinary Operations.
She observes, “I honestly believe that everyone is good at something – but different in many aspects such as home life, way of learning, talents, interests and abilities. Taking time to really know the students enables me to help them recognize their strengths, find their ‘niche’, and use this to help them succeed not only in the classroom, but to plan for their future.”
Her involvement includes: Career and Technical Department Head, WHS Medical Academy Coordinator, Senior Class Sponsor, Workforce Plus Representative, and liaison between the business community and the school. She has sponsored the Future Business Leaders of America, the WHS Cheerleaders, and has worked with the Wakulla Grid Iron Club, WHS Softball, Volleyball, Basketball, and Diamond Clubs.
These eight are now in the running for Wakulla County’s 2010 Teacher of the Year, which will be announced at the end of February. A qualified panel of judges from outside of Wakulla County will rate a written packet and an interview from each teacher. The 2010 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.