"I thought she
was the best teacher even before she was teacher of the year,"
said a girl. A boy chimed in: "She's the greatest teacher on the
teacher-student bonds are common, especially in the lower
grades, it is quickly obvious
that the rapport between her and
her charges is several notches above the ordinary. The respect
the children exhibit is mutual.
The students "are
an extension of who I am," Fox said.
Fox has taught
first grade for 10 years and said she "can't imagine teaching
anything else." That's because "first-graders make so much
progress in a short amount of time." Growth achieved during that
academic year is visibly greater than in any other, she
shares a story with her first-grade class.
Teaching itself is "more than just
a job," she added. "Teaching is about developing relationships
-- with the children, their families and my colleagues."
She has retained
contact over the years with some of her former students, the
oldest of whom are now in high school. She received several
telephone calls and e.mail messages from them after her award
It can be said
that Fox was literally born and bred to teaching. Her
grandmother, 96, is a retired teacher and her mother teaches in
Pennsylvania. Her brother is the physical education teacher at
Mount Pleasant Elementary and two cousins also teach.
Fox has had a
lifelong connection with the Brandywine School District, having
gone through Brandywood Elementary, Harlan Intermediate and
Hanby Middle and graduated from Brandywine High. After earning
her degree from the University of Delaware, she was hired by the
district to teach in the kindergarten center at P.S. du Pont. A year later she
moved to the first-grade assignment at Mount Pleasant. Since
receiving the required certification four years ago, she has
taught in the district's 'gifted and talented' students program,
in which she was enrolled when a child.
The mother of two
children of preschool age, she lives in the district.
prepared this poster to commemorate the occasion.
Being selected as
'teacher of the year', she said, provides an opportunity "to
spotlight the great things we have here in this district."
district, which was established in 1982, has had more 'teachers
of the year' than any other district since inception of the
statewide award in 1965, according to a spokesman for the
Delaware Department of Education. The number of public school
districts has varied since then. There presently are 19.
requires selection at the district level, followed by submission
of a portfolio, classroom observation and judgment by an
objective panel. State winners then are eligible for the
national award, presented by the
Council of Chief State School
which Delaware has never received.
As it happens,
Fox was in her second-grade class at Brandywood in 1986 when
Doris Stevenson became the first of six Brandywine
honorees. The others were: Francis O'Malley, 1997; Lyn Newsom,
1999; Ronni Cohen, 2000; and Tanya Marcinkewicz, 2002.
Fox is a National
Board-certified teacher -- a distinction considered the most
prestigious in the profession. During the summers she travels
around the country as a consultant for the Responsive Classroom
instructional program, which Mount Pleasant Elementary
She is beginning
work on obtaining a masters degree and said eventually would
consider going into education administration.
said, "I love what I do; I love teaching first grade; I love
Mount Pleasant; and I love the Brandywine district."
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