by Tribune staff
Homer Language Arts Teacher Sean Campbell won BP Teacher of the Year Award 2012 for the Kenai Peninsula, and two other Homer teachers were also named for the honor.
Melissa Cloud and Shellie Worsfold, both West Homer 4th grade teachers, were honored as was Patrick Nolden, a teacher at Soldotna High School.
Campbell said the award focuses on teachers who inspire their students. In his case, he feels equally inspired by them.
“The direction I’m always trying to take my classes in is (the hope) that students will find the joy in literature and that they will find power and beauty in their words and the words of others,” Campbell said Monday morning. “I hope they will question. That’s what I try to emphasize in trying to make studies relevant to their lives, and to ask what is important? What can they learn about themselves, others, our society and our history.”
Campbell plans on continuing his masters degree in Educational Leadership with his monetary award.
The 17th Annual BP Teachers of Excellence awards were presented at the Peninsula Conference Center in Soldotna on May 3.
Cloud and Worsfold plan to take their $500 each and combine it, along with a $1,500 Department of Natural Resources grant awarded to 4th grade teacher, Lyn Maslow, to purchase 12-15 digital cameras for the school. (The DNR grant gives $500 to each teacher).
The three teachers form a collaborative team for the entire fourth grade. Worsfold credits the teaching trio’s team efforts as the secret ingredient to their combined teaching excellence.
“I am fortunate to work with a team of exceptional teachers,” Worsfold said. “We’re diverse, but similar enough, to mesh well.”
Worsfold has taught 14 years, two at West Homer, five at K-Beach Elementary and seven at Tustumena Elementary. Through the years, she kept trying to move to Homer, where she knew the community matched her own interests. But it wasn’t until her husband, an air flight controller, won a position at the Homer Airport that the move was made possible.
Cloud has lived in Homer 28 years, and has served 22 years as a teacher. She began in Homer at the Homer Intermediate School in 1990, with all but two years here. From 2006-2008, she mentored new teachers from kindergarten through high school on the island of St. George to Bethel to throughout the Yupiit School District. Her husband, Dave, also taught and retired in 1999.
Students clamored to offer their ideas for why Mrs. Cloud and Mrs. Worsfold deserved the BP Teaching Excellence Awards:
“Mrs. Cloud is awesome. She’s teaching me geometry,” said Daylynn Yenny. “We learn a lot about marine life. The other day we went to Mud Bay and Beluga Slough.”
Evan Holstead said he has learned a lot about marine invertebrates in Mrs. Cloud’s class. “She’s taking us for three days and two nights across the bay where we’re going to learn all about the ocean.”
“She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had, since I was in kindergarten,” said Paige Sarratt, speaking of Worsfold.
“She has great teaching skills,” said Travis Coffey of Mrs. Worsfold. “She’s kind and caring for each one of us.”
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