History of Teacher Appreciation
"The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.
NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.
NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May.”
Our teachers, paraprofessionals, clerical staff, support staff and administration are grateful to have the opportunity to inculcate the identified core values we all share in the children of the long standing community.
Below, are the Mason Academy Employee of the Year Nominees. We appreciate our entire staff and we hope you join us by thanking your child’s teachers and support staff.
Rooke Teacher of the Year Candidate
Teach for America (TFA) was founded on a belief in the potential of all children and their right to an excellent education. As a first year teacher and TFA candidate, Ms. Thompson embodies this belief in her daily action and dedication to her students. Ms. Thompson took on the kindergarten at the beginning of the school year. No two days have ever been the same for her. She has grown exponentially over the course of her first year teaching and her students have grown along with her.
Until I met Ms. Thompson and her TFA colleague, Mr. Bazzi, I questioned the practice of TFA. My experience with Ms. Thompson and Mr. Bazzi have renewed my belief in the Teach For America program and its ability to provide quality teachers for students in the urban environment.
School Culture Facilitator of the Year Candidate
During my first year as principal of Mason Academy, I spent most of my time with Coach Johnson. He was serving Mason as our noon hour aide, singlehandedly maintaining the lunchroom for our entire Kindergarten through 8th grade population. My time in the lunchroom with Coach Johnson gave me the chance to get to know our students, and get to know him. I knew he was the only candidate I wanted to serve as Mason Academy’s School Culture Facilitator.
Born and bread in the Mason/Farwell community, Coach Johnson does more than just hold students for detention, he works hand in hand with our Deans of Culture and building administration to provide a safe and secure learning environment for everyone. Vigilant, engaging, caring, and determined to see all of Mason’s students find success, Coach Johnson is the one that the students can always confide in.
Office Clerical of the Year Candidate
Mrs. Berroud is the oil that keeps the engine of Mason Academy moving smoothly! Mrs. Berroud is a gatekeeper. She has managed our front office for better part of the entire school year with the support of Mrs. William, Mrs. Vinson, and Mrs. Bowen-Lucas. Mrs. Berroud and her team have freed up Mrs. Turrentine & I to spend more of our time in the classrooms and in the hallways, providing us the time to keep our eyes on our students and on the instruction they are receiving.
Mrs. Berroud has come up with wonderful events for engaging students and parents in various after school activities and school wide field trips that have provided cross curricular opportunities to expand our students’ academic experience.
Teacher of the year Candidate
In my time as an elementary school principal it has been my highest aspiration to find a school where I would want my own child to attend. I have found that school at Stevens T. Mason Academy and one of the reasons why is because of Mrs. Rhonda Raheem. Mrs. Raheem is a leader by example. She is committed to creating and maintaining an academically challenging classroom and she is a steadfast supporter of the Mason Academy family and our mission to improve the culture of our community and the reputation of our school. Mrs. Raheem is the cornerstone of the elementary teaching staff. This team of faculty members stabilized the school during several transitions. Her work for Stevens T. Mason Academy embodies the core values the District strives to reflect in our daily walk, Students First, Excellence, Integrity, Equity, Service, and Tenacity.
Dean of Culture of the Year Candiate
Mrs. Reaves has served Mason Academy as a long-term substitute for several years. She was the disciplinarian of the 3rd through 5th grade hallway. Her strategies and tactics matched those of some of the very best teachers I’ve worked with over my career in public education. She was firm, but fair; feared, but loved. The perfect paradox for a future Dean of Culture.
Mrs. Reaves firm but fair; feared but loved approach to classroom management has smoothly transitioned from her individual classroom, to a practice seen throughout the school.
Paraeducator of the Year Candidate
Dynamic, versatile, diligent, trustworthy and reliable are the five best words I can use to describe Mrs. Pickett. She has worked at Mason Academy for 20 plus years and has seen it all. With that experience comes the expertise in the classroom. She might not be the teacher of record, but the room doesn’t skip a beat if the teacher has to take the day off. Serving our elementary mildly cognitively impaired population, Mrs. Pickett expects the best from her students an supports her lead teacher at all times.
A courageous follower, devoted to the Mason Academy community, Mrs. Pickett was a finalist for this year’s District Paraeducator of the Year Award! The first of I hope many candidates we’ll see celebrated by the District for the hard work and dedication to our community’s children.
Assistant Principal of the Year Candidate
Mrs. Turrentine is a specialist at capitalizing on the small wins, highlighting student growth as much as we highlight student proficiency. Mrs. Turrentine finds creative ways of encouraging all students to continue to put forth their very best effort in the classroom, encouraging teachers to look beyond the challenges their students face to teach their students in the same manner they’d want their own child taught.
Every principal knows that your assistant principal is your chief of staff. Mrs. Turrentine can best be compared to a Sherpa climbing Mount Everest. She’s been on this path before, she knows where the pitfalls can be, she guides the team up the mountain and back down to safety.