SMS Teacher of the Year aims for healthy body and minds
At Selbyville Middle School, special-education teacher Sally Craig is motivated by her students: “Just thinking that maybe I can make a difference with some of them – and I think I do – that keeps me going,” she said. “With the special-education population, they need a lot more than others, and I like to be there for them.”
Craig’s positive attitude and dedication to teaching earned her the SMS Teacher of the Year award.
“It is quite an honor being nominated, because there’s so many good teachers here,” she emphasized. “It’s nice to be recognized by your peers.”
Craig has taught for 39 years. Her career evolved from physical education to special education and followed her from Newark, where she won a similar award, to Roanoke, Va.
“I still enjoy it,” Craig said. “Some people would have retired by now.”
Now in her ninth year at SMS, Craig said the paperwork can be “a little overwhelming at times, but the kids are great. I love school.”
As an undergraduate, Craig majored in physical education and minored in special education at West Virginia University. She then earned a master’s degree in instruction from the University of Delaware.
Now, Craig leads an enrichment class herself, then travels with her students to their academic inclusion classes, such as math, science and language arts.
“It gives me a variety, and I get to see different teachers and their teaching techniques,” she said. “You learn a lot that way.”
Each SMS grade level is split into teams, and Craig praised the camaraderie and teamwork among the Arrows team of teachers, parents and students.
“You get to know the students really well and get to know the parents. It’s a lot of teamwork, and I’m a team player.”
One teaching challenge is not knowing the students’ entire background, said Craig.
“They come to us with a lot of baggage, with a lot of issues, home situations that we’re not fully aware of,” Craig said. “And we’re always trying to help the students … the most that we can and bring out their potential.”
Generally, Craig said, she believes parents are getting busier and don’t always have time to emphasize education.
“We’re kind of like surrogate parents for these kids. I think a lot of these students see us more than they see their parents during the school year,” Craig explained. “They just need to know somebody cares about them.”
She said it’s heartwarming when children warm up to her.
School doesn’t end for Craig when the bell rings. She also coaches the track team, sponsors the volleyball club and mentors students. She works with the SMS Sunshine Committee, a social organization for staff.
She said she likes to be involved in things, organizing events, chaperoning student dances and hosting student-teachers.
Craig lives in Bethany Beach, where she is often found with her family, walking, biking or kayaking. She also likes to read, garden and work out.
Craig volunteers with the Annual Justin’s Beach House Memorial 5K Walk/Run and the Alpha Alpha Chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi service sorority.
Craig said she’ll volunteer even more during retirement, but she isn’t ready for that yet.
And, in September, she’ll undertake a new challenge and return to her teaching roots as Selbyville Middle School’s newest physical education teacher.
“I’m excited about it. I don’t like to sit still,” Craig said.