Wakulla County School Level Teachers of the Year for 2012

By: WCSB Release Email
By: WCSB Release Email

December 15, 2011 -

Superintendent David Miller announced the school-level 2012 Teachers of the Year on December 7, 2012. 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 2012 are: Shari Smith representing Wakulla Education Center and Sopchoppy Education Center; Holly Harden for Crawfordville Elementary; Angela Swain for Medart Elementary; Megan Crombie for Riversink Elementary; Michelle Hunter for Shadeville Elementary; John Kane for Riversprings Middle; Jeri Jump for Wakulla Middle; and Missy Rudd 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 7.

Shari Smith is a pre-kindergarten teacher representing Wakulla Education Center (WEC) and Sopchoppy Education Center (SEC). She has her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Reading and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). She currently is in her third year of teaching, all at WEC.

She has participated in trainings for the new Teacher Evaluation System; Using Mimio Technology in the Classroom; and Beyond Centers and Circle Time, among others. She is the pre-k representative on the District Teacher Appraisal Advisory Team (DTAAT) and on the District Professional Development Council.

Her philosophy of education reveals, “I believe an effective teacher is one who differentiates instruction to meet the needs of his/her students. An effective teacher is one who reflects daily on his/her performance and the performance of his/her students and seeks out resources and professional development activities to better their skill set.”

Holly Harden of Crawfordville Elementary School has her bachelor’s degree and is certified to teach grades one through six, plus has endorsements in ESOL, Reading, and Gifted Studies. She is also a National Board Certified teacher. Harden currently teaches 4th grade and is in her 15th year of teaching.

She states, “I want to create a classroom environment that is challenging so that EVERY student meets his or her highest potential. My goal is to demonstrate the life skills and values students need to become productive citizens.”

Harden demonstrates her leadership skills in many ways, including as School Improvement co-chair, Grade Level Team Leader, teacher representative on the District Professional Development Council, and as member and former secretary of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for women educators.

She is also one of the teachers who works with students to publish the school newspaper, assists with EcoAmbassadors, and is an active parent of two Crawfordville Elementary students.

Angela Swain of Medart Elementary has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and also is certified in elementary and secondary Exceptional Student Education (ESE). She has been teaching for 9 years and currently teaches 2nd grade.

She believes, “Children have a natural urge to learn, which offers unlimited possibilities. In order to reach the full potential of those possibilities, children need to be guided through an active exploration of the world, instilled with a strong self-esteem, and nurtured to a love of life.”

Swain is a supervising teacher for college practicum students and interns. She is currently being trained in the Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) autism program. She also has attended the Focus on Math Best Practices workshop.

In addition, she is a part of the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Team at her school, and helps organize the extensive Veteran’s Day program at Medart Elementary every year.

Riversink Elementary chose fourth and fifth grade combination teacher Megan Crombie. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her master’s degree in Gifted Education. She is also a National Board Certified teacher who has been in education for 7 years.

Crombie states, “To me, effective teaching starts with respecting my students. I once heard someone say, ‘Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ I try to keep this in mind with every interaction I have with my students in order to establish a classroom atmosphere that makes them comfortable enough to learn and try new things.”

Some of her involvements include: member Delta Kappa Gamma, Wakulla District Writing Committee, teacher representative for the state “Working on Gifted Issues” Council, National Science Teachers Association, and instructor of college courses on the Gifted Endorsement for other teachers.

She is the Riversink Elementary Yearbook Sponsor, tutor for Operation Brainpower after school, and co-coach of the Odyssey of the Mind Engineering Team of 4th and 5th grade students at her school.

Shadeville Elementary voted for National Board Certified teacher Michelle Hunter to represent their school. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is a Project Learning Tree Facilitator. This is her 15th year in education; currently she teaches 4th grade.

Hunter notes, “My role as a teacher is to provide my students with the necessary tools with which they can feel capable and successful. Part of that success lies within the strength of the relationship between school and home. I present curriculum that involves students’ interests and makes learning relevant to life.”

She is co-chair of the Project Learning Tree Committee; in the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers for 2005; National Outstanding Educator of the Year for Project Learning Tree; in the League of Environmental Educators of Florida; and has won the Barb Pitman Outstanding Educator Award.

Hunter also tutors students after school in Writing, organizes the student-run school post office, and maintains Shadeville Elementary’s butterfly gardens and outdoor classroom.

John Kane is the representative for Riversprings Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, is certified in Mathematics Grades 6-12, and earned the Gifted Endorsement. He teaches Algebra I and Algebra I Honors to 8th grade students for high school credit, plus History.

Outlining what he believes to be effective teaching, he lists: “Provide a positive, safe learning environment for students; differentiate instruction to accommodate all learners. Show your students that you care about their success and well being. Make your topic relevant and interesting to pique their curiosity. Engage students’ critical thinking skills in exercises and activities and apply rigor to all lessons.”

He has attended training on Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and is part of the RMS AVID Site Team that supports students taking rigorous academics. In addition, he has attended College Board Advanced Placement and pre-AP math workshops, as well as taken part in RMS Lesson Study projects.

Active in his school, he is Student Council co-chairman, Math Counts coach, and a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He also does after school tutoring and is the recipient of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)/Robotics Grant.

Jeri Jump is a second time Teacher of the Year from Wakulla Middle School, earning this distinction and going on to become District Teacher of the Year for 2003. She has her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, a master’s in Athletic Administration, and a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. This is her 17th year in education, and currently she teaches ESE to students in grades 6 through 8.

She is a Mentor Teacher; District Liaison to the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD); and a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Delta Kappa Gamma. Jump also received the 2010 Fischler School of Education and Human Science Scholarship Award.

She believes, “Effective teaching happens when you know how your students learn, what they need to know, and what you need to do to get them there. Knowing them as learners enables you to plan for instruction and assessment and offer experiences that are meaningful as well as challenging. Knowing them as people enables you to create a motivating environment where achieving goals and demonstrating outcomes can be applied to real life situations.”

Jump plays many roles in her school, some of which are: Athletic Director, Student Council sponsor, head coach for three sports, Spelling Bee coordinator, and PBS Team Leader.

Missy Rudd represents Wakulla High School as their Teacher of the Year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, and is certified in English grades 6-12, Media Specialist, Middle Grades Integrated, and has the Reading Endorsement. In her 6th year in education, she teaches English to students in grades 9, 10 and 12.

She is a trainer for the new Teacher Evaluation System and has attended training on Six Traits of Writing, Leadership Development, and Differentiated Instruction with Multiple Intelligences, to name a few.

She observes, “I enjoy getting to know my students and their interests and watching them grow in the classroom and on the field/court/mat. I believe that learning should be (and can be) fun, and through cooperative learning, hands-on activities, classroom humor and even direct instruction, students associate the two.”

Her involvements include: Wakulla County Teachers’ Association, District Calendar Committee, Delta Kappa Gamma, National Council of Teachers of English, International Reading Association, Florida Reading Association, and the Florida Education Association. She is on the WHS Reading Leadership Team, the School Advisory Council, and was named the 2011 War Eagle Co-Fan of the Year.

These eight are now in the running for Wakulla County’s 2012 District Teacher of the Year, which 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 2012 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 16, 2012 at Wakulla Middle School.


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