Earlier in the week, we announced our school-level teachers of the year. The Tennessee Department of Education has encouraged us to recognize teachers who care about children, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee students, and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement. Oak Ridge Schools would now like to congratulate the district-level Teacher of the Year, Stacy Donald. Stacy’s biography below is written from excerpts of her own words.

District Teacher of the Year, Stacy Donald – Woodland Elementary: Principal, D.T. Hobby;

Teacher of the Year

As mentioned in Ms. Donald’s biography earlier this week, her goal as a teacher has always been to challenge her students to become young mathematicians who develop a lifetime love for learning.  She tells them she is the coach and they are her players. She has them establish specific goals and work together to accomplish them. She emphasizes the importance of this practice in relation to students’ futures in high school, college, and professional sports so that they can “connect” the importance of team practice to future success.

In addition to coaching her students, Stacy has been a front-runner in coaching her peers in the use of technology. She was thus naturally involved in the initial stages of our one-to-one initiative to bring digital learning into the Oak Ridge Schools classrooms, and she also became what is known as a “STEM Innovator.” This role included creating a centralized vision and purpose for the digital learning initiative, collaborating with peers to understand how to best utilize technology for the benefit of our students, and delivering a STEM-based curriculum.

She worked within this group to develop a strategic vision for the digital initiative, as learning through technology is an enormous component of the success of all students in this 21st century. This kind of learning allows our students to communicate and find resources from all around the world instantaneously, and allows them to do extensive research. Embracing digital resources with our students gives them the ability to engage with peers in new ways and prepares our next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers. Ms. Donald notes that our students will be competing in a global economy that is rapidly changing, and we are able to help them learn in ways we never used to imagine, like taking virtual field trips to places that many students have never had an opportunity to go, receive differentiated instruction on customized levels, and allow for endless collaborative possibilities.

Congratulations, Stacy! You represent us well.