08/12/11 — County program will honor teachers throughout school year for good work

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County program will honor teachers throughout school year for good work

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 12, 2011 1:46 PM

School officials plan to recognize the district's most outstanding educators all during the year and not just at "Teacher of the Year" time.

At present, Wayne County Public Schools annually honors a representative for each school, then narrows down the field to one from the elementary, middle and high school levels before naming the "Teacher of the Year" for the district.

Through the "Model Educator" program, the best and brightest would be acknowledged throughout the school year.

The effort has been in the making for three years, said Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, who announced the initiative at the recent school board meeting.

"It's a way we could identify and recognize teachers in Wayne County that excel at what they do. They really make a difference day in and day out," said Gail Herring, director of elementary education. "Not only are we looking at identifying those educators but recognizing them."

A review team is being formed to develop the program standards and help in the selection process.

"Teachers can apply or be nominated by peer or administrator," explained Karen Small Rogers, teaching and learning coach with the district.

The recognition will encompass all grade levels, all content areas, she said, adding that details on the effort will eventually be posed on the district website.

"We want our community to know that we have outstanding educators," Mrs. Herring said. "We want to advertise it on our TV station, website, in trainings and at our schools."

A five-minute video is also being produced by the district promoting the program.

Model Educators are not limited to classroom teachers, though, Mrs. Herring said.

"We're also talking about guidance counselors and anyone else that makes a difference in our schools," she said, adding, "When we do our Teacher of the Year, we're only recognizing one person but we have a lot of model educators in our county that are not recognized, so this would give us an opportunity to recognize more."

It will be a competitive, intensive process, she noted. Candidates would provide artifacts and documentation of their leadership and qualifications, as well as being observed and interviewed.

"A lot of these artifacts are things they should already have in place or should be working on," Mrs. Herring said. "We'll have a team to review applications and will be honoring them with recognition at a Board of Education meeting and a plaque for their classroom."

Thelma Smith, chairwoman of the Board of Education, was enthused about the program.

"To me it looks like you're rewarding teachers and it's about time we pull those people out and give them the recognition they're due," she said. "This is wonderful."

Board member Len Henderson also applauded the committee for the effort to "promote excellence" in the schools.

"It's a great idea," said board member Chris West. "Not only should we recognize them, they should be compensated."