GREENVILLE — The Darke County 2017 Teachers of the Year banquet took place May 3, at the Darke County Educational Service Center (ESC).
This was the first year for having eight teachers win the top prize, instead of one. Darke County ESC Supt. Michael E. Gray thought it was a nice change.
“A lot of people out there do a great job in our school districts,” he said. “I am proud that we have all of you here today to be recognized for what you have done. We hear some great stories each year and there has been only one story, but now there are eight. I think we will probably continue with that. Congratulations Teachers of the year. That means a lot to me saying that, and I hope it means a lot to you too, because there are peers around that really respect and honor you for what you do.”
The 2017 Teachers of the Year are: Versailles – Dena Wuebker, Tri-Village – Beth Fisherback, Mississinawa Valley – Gwen Bergman, Greenville – Brian McKibben, Franklin-Monroe – Kip Gray, Bradford – Angie Wendel, Arcanum-Butler – Erin Tegtmeyer and Ansonia – Mary Lochtefeld. In addition, the C. Michael Crawford Mentor of the Year Award went to Mississinawa Valley Elementary Teacher Teresa Birt.
Director of Curriculum and English Language Arts (ELA) Specialist of the Darke County Educational Service Center (ESC) April Hoying said this is the thirteenth year of giving a Mentor of the Year Award. This year 24 new resident educators each had their own mentor assigned by their school districts, she said.
“We have wonderful mentors every year,” Hoying said.
Vice-President of the Darke County Retired Teachers Association (DCRTA) Jean Kelly passed out the awards, sponsored by the DCRTA. She said attitude is a big thing to consider as a teacher.
“I ran into a student I had in the 1990s the other day, and we were talking,” she said. “He said, ‘You know, the one thing I remember about you is that I don’t think there was any student that you didn’t like.’ I said, ‘You are right.’ My philosophy always was: Teenagers are people and if you treat them like people they will return that to you.”
Featured Speaker University of Dayton Chair of the Department of Educational Administration Dr. David A. Dolph told the award recipients what they do in class has a tremendous influence and impact not only on individuals, but on society in this country.
“There are a lot of critics and you will hear a lot of complaints,” he said. “I talk a lot about attitude. I think people don’t really care that much if you complain. But the fact that you are all on this room demonstrates that you don’t complain, and that you get a lot of good things done. Lots of studies about how important teachers are say a teacher is the single most important entity in school. You guys make the biggest difference in the kids’ lives and the impact you make is tremendous.”
“Skills teachers need to have, such as: management, curriculum and understanding assessment are all very important,” Dolph added. “Probably more important are soft skills that make a difference in people. Kids respond to how much you care and how much you can demonstrate that caring attitude towards them.”
Superintendent Gray reinforced the honor in receiving the Teacher of the Year award to its recipients. “You guys aren’t here just because somebody said you are Teacher of the Year,” he said. “You’re here because all of the work that you put in and have done for your school districts.”