Congratulations to Mary Schraven, UVM Outstanding Teacher!

October 22uvmnd marked the 34th annual Outstanding Teacher Day. Each year University of Vermont honors exceptional educators around our state. Mary Schraven was recognized from FWSU. These fine educators exemplify the five standards for VT teachers – Learning, Professional Knowledge, Advocacy, Colleagueship, and Accountability. We are proud of our 2014 Outstanding Teachers!

Today on the blog we are highlighting a Q & A with Outstanding Teacher Mary Schraven. Mrs. Schraven teaches First Grade at BFA Fairfax.  

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1. What excites you most about being a teacher?           

Entering the classroom every morning and knowing that today is the day that I can make a difference in a student’s life; and if it doesn’t happen that day I have the opportunity to make a difference the next. I love the possibility to inspire, motivate or prompt a student to take a risk and take the reins of their own potential.

2. How has your teaching changed since you started?

Technology has had a dramatic influence on both how we teach and how children learn; adapting to these changes and understanding the value of this shift has been one of the biggest changes since I first began my work as a teacher. The use of these new technologies help to keep families and the community connected. Teachers have to be mindful of how we communicate.

3. What is the important thing you have learned as an educator?

Over my 20+ years as an educator, I’ve learned that to make a difference, one needs to have passion, skill and perseverance. A teacher needs to be flexible to meet the challenges and the evolving standards and demands of each individual student that enters the classroom.

4. What do you like to do for fun?

I like to spend time with my daughters, kayak, and practice archery. I love attending Broadway shows while visiting New York City. Most recently I’ve been learning how to play the piano and I’ve started to take singing lessons.

“Mary has been educating students for 25 years at BFA Fairfax.  Her contagious smile and positive outlook have supported and inspired students throughout. Mary’s classroom is highly engaging and students are consistently held to high academic and behavioral standards.  Mary is a role model and advocate for all students as they confront and overcome any challenge they may encounter in their lives.  We are so fortunate that Mary is a part of the BFA Fairfax family.” – Principal Thomas Walsh

Congratulations to Melissa Fisher, UVM Outstanding Teacher!

uvmOctober 22nd marked the 34th annual Outstanding Teacher Day. Each year University of Vermont honors exceptional educators around our state. Melissa Fisher (GEMS) was recognized from FWSU. These fine educators exemplify the five standards for VT teachers – Learning, Professional Knowledge, Advocacy, Colleagueship, and Accountability. We are proud of our 2014 Outstanding Teachers!

Today on the blog we are highlighting a Q & A with Outstanding Teacher Melissa Fisher. Mrs. Fisher is a Guidance Counselor at GEMS. 

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1) What excites you most about being a teacher?
I love the excitement and energy that comes with middle school “life!”
2) How has your teaching changes since you started?
When I first started 18 years ago, I feel I was pretty naive about what would help middle schoolers as they navigate through the world. What life was like for me in middle school is so different from today. Being current on the needs of kids and families is important. In the last couple of years I have done more work with students in a leadership role and I have learned a LOT from them. Give them the opportunity, and they will shine!
3) What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator?
Relationships are essential! Not only the relationships you build with your students, but also with the families, community and staff. This work can be challenging at times, but the more we can work together, the better for all of us.
4) What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy hiking with my 9-year-old and I’ve gotten into running the last few years – “fun” and a great stress reliever!
Melissa without doubt has been able to juggle the tremendous responsibilities that go with having a comprehensive guidance program for all Georgia students. Her influence goes far beyond the social and  emotional well being of all our students. Melissa directs our EST, case manages 504 students and totally coordinates the high school choice for all of our eighth graders.  She is an outstanding colleague to all and  has volunteered to mentor many of our young teachers. Melissa’s endless energy and caring is what makes her a role model for all of us. Thank you Melissa.
      —– Frank Calano. Middle School Principal

BFA Educator Melinda Carpenter Named UVM Outstanding Teacher 2013

Don’t miss yesterday’s post in this two-part feature! 

uvmOctober 16th marked the 33rd annual Outstanding Teacher Day. Each year University of Vermont honors exceptional educators around our state. Cindy Little (GEMS) and Melinda Carpenter (BFA) were recognized from FWSU. These fine educators exemplify the five standards for VT teachers – Learning, Professional Knowledge, Advocacy, Colleagueship, and Accountability. We are proud of our 2013 Outstanding Teachers!

Today on the blog we are highlighting a Q & A with Outstanding Teacher Melinda Carpenter. Ms. Carpenter is a committed 6th Grade Science & Social Studies Teacher at BFA Fairfax. 

MELINDA CARPENTER, Outstanding Teacher 2013  (pictured with BFA Fairfax Elementary Principal Tom Walsh). Lindy is a 6th Grade Science & Social Studies Teacher at BFA.
MELINDA CARPENTER, Outstanding Teacher 2013 (pictured with BFA Fairfax Elementary Principal Tom Walsh). Lindy is a 6th Grade Science & Social Studies Teacher at BFA.

Q: What excites you most about being a teacher?

A: My students and peers make my job exciting and engaging. My students are very clever and interesting; they challenge me and make me laugh every day. I reflect on the challenging aspects of my day and try to find strategies to make my teaching more effective. My colleagues are amazing! I am so fortunate to work with such a knowledgeable and supportive group of individuals. Having worked in both the Elementary and Middle School, I have been inspired and influenced by many incredible educators.

Q: When you decided to become an educator, how did your friends and family respond?

A: My family and friends were very supportive. My mother was a teacher for 40 years and I learned a lot from her about the profession.

Q: If teaching was not your career, what would your career be?

A: I have an undergraduate degree in Finance and enjoyed my career before making the switch. Teaching was a better fit for me, but I didn’t dislike my “corporate life.” I have also spent time working in libraries, which I enjoyed very much, so perhaps my “next life” could be in a library or bookstore.

Q: How has your teaching changed since you started? 

A: Truly, the only thing constant is change and teaching is no exception. The technology component of the job has changed so tremendously that it’s hard to imagine what the typical school day will look like in 10 years. There are certainly other aspects of teaching that have changed or improved but technology stands out as the most dramatic.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring educators about the teaching profession?

A: Every day you have the opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life. Embrace the knowledge that your attitude and affect sets the tone in the classroom. Be positive and learn from your mistakes. Use your resources and colleagues for support and guidance.

Q: What do you love to do in your spare time?

A: I love to spend time with my family, watching movies, going to sporting events, hiking and enjoying good food. I also love to read, to visit with friends, and to coach basketball and cross-country running.

Q: How would you describe your experiences as a student when you were in school?

A: My experiences were positive and I really enjoyed being a student here at BFA. Although I loved to read and learn, I was also a very social person. I try to keep this in perspective when working with middle and high school students. I make an effort to give my students opportunities to collaborate, debate and problem-solve in groups so that they have ample opportunities to have discussions and interact.

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator? 

A: The work we do as educators is very important. I have learned to appreciate students and families from many different situations and backgrounds. I don’t have all the answers and continue to learn new things about people, teaching and myself every day. I’ve learned it’s important to be positive and open to new experiences.

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“One of the things I admire about Lindy’s classroom is that students are always engaged in hands-on learning – whether it’s hiking up Mount Mansfield or working on a science inquiry task. Her focus is truly student-centered as she creates ways to personalize learning for every student. The students really respect Ms. Carpenter and her classroom is a fun place to be. Lindy is an incredible educator with a great sense of humor!” ~ Tom Walsh, BFA Fairfax Elementary Principal

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Congratulations, Lindy!

GEMS Educator Cindy Little Named UVM Outstanding Educator 2013

uvmOctober 16th marked the 33rd annual Outstanding Teacher Day. Each year University of Vermont honors exceptional educators around our state. Cindy Little (GEMS) and Melinda Carpenter (BFA) were recognized from FWSU. These fine educators exemplify the five standards for VT teachers – Learning, Professional Knowledge, Advocacy, Colleagueship, and Accountability. We are proud of our 2013 Outstanding Teachers! 

Today on the blog we are highlighting a Q & A with Outstanding Teacher Cindy Little. Ms. Little is a dedicated Elementary Guidance Counselor at Georgia Elementary Middle School.

CINDY LITTLE - Outstanding Teacher 2013 (pictured with Georgia Elementary Principal Steve Emery)
CINDY LITTLE, Outstanding Teacher 2013  (pictured with Georgia Elementary Principal Steve Emery). Cindy is an Elementary Guidance Counselor at GEMS.

Q: What excites you most about being a teacher?

A: I am energized by being a significant person (albeit one of many) in children’s lives; one who cares about how they feel now and who is committed to being with them for the long haul.

Q: When you decided to become an educator, how did your friends and family respond?

A: My friends and family were totally supportive. I started out as the neighborhood babysitter of choice and moved on to wanting to help educate children. My mother and my grandmother were teachers, as well.

Q: If teaching was not your career, what would your career be?

A: If teaching was not my career, I would be a guardian ad litem; one who advocates for children in the court system.

Q: How has your teaching changed since you started?

A: Teaching responsibilities are huge now. The amount of subject area they cover has grown well beyond what it was when I started.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring educators about the teaching profession?

A: My advice for a starting teacher is to find a teacher/mentor who will be there to help you through your first year. Believe in yourself and don’t get discouraged when people try to say that there are no jobs in the field. They were saying that when I started out! New teachers are well-prepared to jump in and do what they love most.

Q: What do you love to do in your spare time?

A: I love to walk outside and appreciate nature all around me. I don’t ever get tired of it!

Q: How would you describe your experiences as a student when you were in school?

A: I grew up in the Burlington School system and had a very positive experience. It was the Baby-Boomer era and classroom numbers were large. When I was a senior I was in the Aspire Program at Burlington High School and was placed in a kindergarten classroom for the entire year. It helped me decide to pursue a degree in teaching. In addition, I made lasting friendships that still exist today! I also came from a very supportive family who valued education and my mother came to every event I was ever in. It didn’t matter how big or small it was, she came to cheer me on.

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator? 

A: The most important thing I have learned is to take each child as an individual; celebrate their uniqueness. Listen to them and they’ll guide you!

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“One of the memorable moments from the Outstanding Teacher 2013 ceremony at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel, was when Cindy Little shared a personal letter from a student that touched all of us. I am fortunate to work with an amazing educator like Cindy, who consistently makes a lasting impact on our students. This honor is well-deserved!” ~ Steve Emery, Georgia Elementary Principal

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Congratulations, Cindy!