Unsung Hero: Dawn Dennis

I was one of those smart under-performing students who loved to learn but didn’t see the value in busywork.

As a first grader, I worked the system to get by with as little work as possible and entered second grade pretty jaded for a bespectacled six year old.

But Mrs. Dennis didn’t stand for my nonsense, and she didn’t judge me by my record.

Instead, she challenged me and accommodated me so neatly that I loved school in second grade.

She let me skip the practice rows on worksheets and just do the challenges. When I finished early in math she gave me tangrams or “helper jobs” instead of more busywork. She encouraged me to read books that were challenging (and way higher levels than second grade).

The best part was that she didn’t single me out; she was like that for all of her studentsloving on us and always encouraging us to do our best.

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Dawn an outstanding educator?

  1. Unending patience;
  2. She never raised her voice;
  3. Outside-the-box engagement;
  4. Age-appropriate challenges; and
  5. Passionate and enthusiastic about learning.

Dawn Dennis, Teacher at Allen Elementary, is being recognized by SarahJean Meyer (Eastern Michigan University).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Dawn, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Hope Conover

Mrs. Conover served as a mentor to me through high school. She is also willing to listen, and she has kept in contact with me to encourage me since high school.

Mrs. Conover was never directly my teacher in a classroom, but I was part of her club in high school: Student Council. She spent hours after school making decorations and donating her time to make our school even better. Mrs.

Conover even included her family in the love of us students. To make sure we could have a Football Homecoming Parade in 2013, her and I (with her kids and my siblings) walked the entire parade route the summer before classes began, getting the written permission from businesses along the route.

Her dedication and giving of her time and effort is not limited by the school bells or school calendar. She is student-centered year-round.

When I was in high school, I was getting sick before a big week of tests and events for student council. Mrs. Conover brought me a gallon of Sunny D to “give me vitamin C.”

She cared enough to bring vitamin C in a tasty form when I was sick, but she also cared enough to listen with open ears when myself or other students were having issues at home. Though she could not fix most of our problems, she heard us, she encouraged us, and we never left without a hug.

Now, I am so excited to have Mrs. Conover as one of my colleagues next year as I enter my first teaching job.

Hope Conover, Poplar Bluff High School

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Hope an outstanding educator?

  1. Dedicated
  2. Willing to listen OPENLY
  3. Encouraging
  4. Caring
  5. Giving

Hope Conover, Teacher at Poplar Bluff High School, is being recognized by Jennie Caswell (Student, College of the Ozarks).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Hope, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Mary Robison

Mary Robison has proof that she is transformative in helping children grow and self-actualize.

Scores of them are in contact with her from across the years giving thanks and testimony to the ways in which Mary’s robust self-efficacy in certainty that she can help kids grow becomes a wonderful contagion in her class.

Mary’s students learn that they can learn anything they want to learn and will pursue. She introduces each child to his or her own wonders of intellect, awareness, and passion for learning.

She causes a fervent love of reading, multiple lifeskills, science acumen, and an inoculation against boredom with history by making those human stories come alive and resonate with today.

Best of all, Mary Robison instills an unshakable sense of confidence in children because she models it daily while bridging them to the hardest, best work they have ever done.

Mary Robison, Westfield Intermediate School

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Mary an outstanding educator?

  1. Individualized perception of each child in her care.
  2. Novelty is everywhere in the lessons she creates. It truly is remarkable and memorable.
  3. Compassion drives her core, and she infuses her classes with deep, safe, caring collaboration that supercharges all learning while being time efficient and magnifying of her own self-efficacy.
  4. Authentic tasks, external experts and audiences for student work/exhibition, and a direct, genuine dialogue with students and parents about the lofty goals for their time together.
  5. Unavoidably contagious enthusiasm for all learning and all learners’ interests that can be brought to bear in getting them and keeping them engaged.

Mary Robison, Teacher at Westfield Intermediate School, is being recognized by Scott Robison (Superintendent, Zionsville Community Schools).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Mary, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Kimberly Judice

Mrs. Kim has always inspired me to keep learning and keep trying even when the math (and life) got a little tough.

She would explain math in a way that made sense, and when it didn’t, she would have another way of explaining at the ready.

I remember one day when the calculus class was discussing career options and I had been struggling with my decision of wanting to teach, Mrs. Kim helped me realize that teaching really could be ideal for me.

Even after graduation, I keep in touch with Mrs. Kim, and she always asks how school is going and encourages me to keep going.

I had several teachers tell me not to even waste my time becoming a teacher and that it is not worth it, but Mrs. Kim never did.

She really an amazing teacher who continues to care even after the student leaves her classroom.

Kimberly Judice, Math Teacher at Loreauville High School is being recognized by Emilie Broussard (University of Louisiana at Lafayette).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Kimberly, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Ruth Wynn Sadler

A Very Special Teacher

Some teachers make you feel special, and Ruth Wynn Sadler was the teacher who made me feel like I was smart and could accomplish anything during formative years when I never dreamed that college was a possibility for me.

Later, when one of my students compared my smile to the moon and the stars, those words reminded me Mrs. Sadler’s warm, welcoming smile that greeted students in a manner that motivated us to  learn what she was teaching that day in home economics.

She was great about ignoring classroom pranks although the twinkle in her eyes revealed how much she seemed to enjoy a few mischievous pranks as much as any student. I never remember her raising her voice or dismissing anyone from class during the three years I took a variety of the classes she taught.

However, I most remember what Mrs. Sadler did for me during my senior year after I was elected president of the home economics club when I informed her that I would be unable to make the scheduled home economics field trip to the state fair in Little Rock, Arkansas.

I was too embarrassed to tell her my family was experiencing economic challenges. Yet, when I told her that I could not attend the function, she said she would pick me up at my home the Saturday morning of the trip. Later that week, it began to rain excessively in our rural town. In fact, it rained so much that a number of bridges not too far from my home became impassable and were closed.

So, Mrs. Sadler and her husband had to drive at least an hour of unplanned detours through less traveled, graveled backwoods to reach my home. Then, we traveled back to the school bus destination where the other students waited for her and me to arrive before boarding the bus to travel many hours to get to the fair.

I experienced a wonderful day at the fair mingling with my peers because of Mrs. Sadler’s generosity.

That evening, she and her husband retraced the detour to take me back home.

As a teacher, I realized the sacrifice Mrs. Sadler made for me to attend the fair as I sought empower the lives of my students, and during our last two phone conversations, she shared how she was enduring the infirmities of aging. Yet, her conversation was as cheerful, positive, and complimentary of me as what I remembered in high school.

Although Mrs. Sadler passed away last year, her kindness lives forever in my heart.

Mrs. Ruth Wynn Sadler is being recognized as an Unsung Hero by Dr. Sherrill Rayford.

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Dr. Jill Hutcheson

Growing up, I never liked getting up in front of people to speak about anything.

Dr. Hutcheson looked past my shyness by providing me with encouraging advice that has helped me grow and develop into the person I want to become. She assigned a project where we had to create a lesson plan and present it to the class for twenty minutes.

When I got up in front of my class, she could tell that I was scared out of my mind, yet saw my potential when I presented the music videos I created to educate students about colors. After that, Dr. Hutcheson continued to complement my voice, while questioning what I do with my voice.

After I told her how I work with individuals who have disabilities through music and movement, she allowed my students to perform at a Kappa Delta Pi meeting.

Dr. Hutcheson also nominated me to create a poster about what I do for the Student Research Symposium at Lindenwood University, where I won first place through the education department.

Dr. Hutcheson is also the Assistant Dean of the Education Program at Lindenwood University. She is also an advisor for students who are elementary majors, and has led and created many programs and opportunities.

Everything that Dr. Hutcheson has accomplished and provided to make Lindenwood University’s Department Of Education program what it truly is has allowed many university students with the chance to learn how to educate, advocate, and create awareness throughout the university.

If it were not for Dr. Hutcheson, the program, and opportunities to allow students to grow, learn, and become the best teachers they can become, they would not be as incredible as they are today.

Dr. Jill Hutcheson, Lindenwood University

What are 4 characteristics or qualities that make Dr. Hutcheson an outstanding educator?

  1. Dr. Hutcheson cares about what her students want, and need by providing support for anything and everything she possibly can, so her students know that they can and will succeed.
  2. Dr. Hutcheson always listens to my hopes, and dreams while providing me with opportunities to reach my highest potential.
  3. Dr. Hutcheson believed in me before I believed in myself.
  4. Dr. Hutcheson loves and respects everybody who enters her classroom whether students want to be in her class at 8:00 am or not. Dr. Hutcheson always makes learning fun, and meaningful to allow us to share what we learn with our students as future teachers.

Dr. Jill Hutcheson, Associate Professor at Lindenwood University, is being recognized by Amy Shapiro (Student, Lindenwood University).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers, make a tax-deductible donation today.