Luckenbaugh named WCPS top teacher
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 21, 2013 1:46 PM
Wayne County Schools Teacher of the Year Kristi Luckenbaugh receives her award from Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor during the Teacher of the Year Banquet at Walnut Creek Country Club Tuesday night. Mrs. Luckenbaugh is a second-grade teacher at Meadow Lane Elementary School.
An Air Force wife and mother is Wayne County Public Schools' 2013-14 Teacher of the Year.
Kristi Luckenbaugh, a second-grade teacher at Meadow Lane Elementary School, has been in the profession for seven years, four in her present position.
"It's an honor, something that I never expected," she said. "When I first came to Wayne County seven years ago, I was welcomed with open arms at Meadow Lane. They really took me in, and I knew that this was the place I needed to be."
The Dallas, Texas, native and her husband, Jason, have a 4-year-old daughter, Sydnee.
In her portfolio, she said teaching is her passion.
"It is the most gratifying career in the world," she wrote. "I can impact many lives and make changes for the better. My philosophy of teaching is that each teacher must identify the whole child and successfully meet the child's needs on an individual basis."
"It is evident that the Wayne County Public Schools 2013-14 Teacher of the Year is a dedicated, knowledgeable, caring and inspiring teacher," said Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor, who announced the winner.
Mrs. Luckenbaugh said the aspect of teaching she enjoys most is being an advocate for students.
"The thing that I find most rewarding is a student that comes in unable to read or at a lower level and at the end of the year, they have improved," she said. "And the fact that they can tell you that they have made that growth.
"You know you have made a difference when a child comes back year after year to tell you about their life."
The school district participates in the nationwide Teacher of the Year program and follows its criteria, which includes submitting a portfolio and being interviewed by a selection committee.
Each of the 31 county schools chooses a representative, which is then narrowed down to three finalists, from the elementary, middle and high school levels.
In addition to Mrs. Luckenbaugh, the district's other two finalists this year were Elizabeth McDaniel, an eighth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Grantham School, and Kellie Davis, a mathematics teacher at Spring Creek High School.
Mrs. McDaniel, also a military spouse and a national board-certified teacher, was previously named "Teacher of the Year" for Rosewood Middle School in 2007 and educator of the year while living in Arizona.
Ms. Davis, a national board-certified certified teacher, has been in education 14 years, 12 of those at Spring Creek. She was named "Teacher of the Year" for her school in 2005-06.
Last year's representative for the school system was Glenda Crocker, a 30-year veteran educator who has been at Grantham School since 1990.
She shared what she did over her summer vacation, something she will soon have the opportunity to do with her first-graders. Through the Kemp/Twiford travel/study stipend provided by the district, she was able to visit Italy, France and Spain.
"I got a wonderful education," she told the audience. "Italy was fascinating. France was clean."
Having grown up in Indiana, 15 miles from Notre Dame, she said the trip also provided her with an opportunity to see "the real Notre Dame."
Through a slide presentation, she provided a travelogue of the excursion, accompanied by her eldest daughter and her "world traveler" Snoopy dog, "because I'm going to present him to the school library," she said.
Mrs. Luckenbaugh receives a $5,000 travel/study stipend, a $1,500 check and will represent the district at the regional competition. The other two finalists each receive a $4,000 travel/study stipend.