The Duncan Banner

November 5, 2013

Teacher of the Year candidates

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Nine Duncan teachers were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Duncan School District. And in two weeks one will be selected as Teacher of the Year.

These nine teachers are this year’s teacher of the year nominees. They include Christy Jarboe, Emerson Elementary; Kyle McPherson, Plato Elementary; Cindy Millirons, Woodrow Wilson Elementary; Michelle Spurgin, Mark Twain Elementary; Amy Benton, Horace Mann Elementary; Tammy Bennett, Duncan Middle School; and Denise Clark and Lisa Snider, Duncan High School.

“It’s a very big honor,” Millirons said. “I know how hard every teacher works.”

Bennett said it was great just being nominated because it’s other teachers who help determine the nominees each year. This year’s teacher of the year reception will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 19 at First Baptist Church.

Each of the teachers said the school district has been a great asset when it comes to needs for the classroom. Kelly said technology has been an important part for teaching for this generation of students.

“I like all the technology we have at our hands,” Kelly said. “We have really good tech support. Some teachers in other school districts have to figure it out on their own.”

Bennett said the school district has pushed toward tying classroom learning to career readiness. Last school year, the district piloted the Career Pathways program to make these connections. The program has continued into this school year.

Bennett has also been leading the STEMs (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) program at the middle school, which is a program that works closely with the Career Pathways program.

“Because of our school district, we’re able to pull in programs to prepare students careers and college,” she said.

Even elementary teachers have been tying careers to classroom learning. Spurgin said there are fun things teachers can do to give students more freedom to think in their classroom lessons.

“We’ve been doing a lot of academic choice,” Spurgin said. “They’re learning how to choose in education. That came from professional development.”

Jarboe had a similar experience in her classroom. She said her third-grade students are learning their are a variety of ways to solve problems in math. The students are also learning to think about different jobs and what skills they might require.

“With our story time, two of our words were ‘investigation’ and ‘laboratory,’” Jarboe said. “We discussed what jobs you might have if you were investigating or working in a laboratory.”

Because of Career Pathways and technology in the classrooms, all of the teacher of the year nominees said its easier to teach their students. Millirons and Kelly said they’re able to bring up photos or videos to demonstrate a lesson, which helps to capture students’ attentions and imaginations.

“It adds so much to their learning,” Millirons said.