IRSD celebrates Teachers of the Year

Date Published: 
May 5, 2017

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: The 2017-2018 Indian River School District Teachers of the Year pose in the Indian River High School auditorium.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: The 2017-2018 Indian River School District Teachers of the Year pose in the Indian River High School auditorium.Hundreds of teachers have made the Indian River School District a leader in education. On April 26, the IRSD honored the best of the best, their Teachers of the Year for 2017-2018.

In a surprise announcement, Millsboro Middle School reading teacher Lisa Richardson received top honors as IRSD Teacher of the Year.

“Her story is in many ways the story of the Indian River School District. She is product our school district who returned to give back, and has done that in many capacities and done it well. Both inside and outside the classroom, she is and has been a role model for others,” stated Gary Brittingham, former principal and assistant superintendent.

As the district’s Teacher of the Year, she is now eligible for the state Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in October.

In addition to Richardson at MMS, Teacher of the Year winners from the other IRSD schools were:

• Dori Camper — Southern Delaware School of the Arts;

• Ashley Collins — North Georgetown Elementary School;

• Laurie Hall — Phillip C. Showell Elementary School;

• Linda Hockman — Georgetown Kindergarten Center;

• Noel Lenhart — G.W. Carver Academy;

• Nicole Morey (district finalist) — Georgetown Elementary School;

• Jill Oliva — Sussex Central High School;

• Thomas Peet — Howard T. Ennis School;

• Irene Retzos — John M. Clayton Elementary School;

• Justin Stoeckel — East Millsboro Elementary School;

• Danielle Squillante — Long Neck Elementary School;

• Jennifer Taylor — Georgetown Middle School;

• Meredith Wallace — Selbyville Middle School;

• Allison Walt — Indian River High School; and

• Jill Young (district finalist) — Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

The district’s other two finalists shared advice for other teachers in a video presentation.

“Believe in yourself and believe in” your students, said Morey, encouraging teachers to celebrate even small victories. “I guarantee you will be surprised at what they and, more so, you can do when you open up to new experiences.”

“We have a future to nurture. We have children who depend on us to help them become responsible and mindful citizens of tomorrow,” Young said. “Be positive, be creative, grow your minds, and your kids will, too.”

The school winners are selected by a committee in each building. The 16 building winners must then submit a full portfolio, including essays, statements of educational issues and video-taped classroom lessons.

After another round of essays and interviews, the winner is chosen by a district-wide selection committee.

“Only in education can you earn an award that actually increases your workload!” joked Melissa Grise, the outgoing Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017.

Great teachers, she said, “inspire students to learn. They’re the ones who find creative ways to make materials fun and engaging for all. … These are the educators who are dedicated to becoming the best educators for their students.”

Special guest Susan Bunting, Delaware Secretary of Education and former IRSD superintendent, honored the people who have given their lives to education.

“Against seemingly impossible odds, at times, the 16 teachers of the year in this room have chosen to make a difference,” Bunting said. “These 16 are the best of Indian River’s best, and they’re determined to make a difference for every student, every day, for all the ones that have been entrusted to their care.”

“It is hard. … But take it from the old guy up front — I can promise you one thing: You will never have an occupation more fulfilling than what you do every day,” said IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele. “For what you do every day for this school district and the families in our community and the students in your classroom — thank you.”