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SRU Good News for April 16, 2012

SRU education graduate earns ‘Teacher of the Year’ honor

WARREN, Mich. – Carey Mason, a 1993 Slippery Rock University double major in elementary education and special education, has been named the Middle School Teacher of the Year at Warren [Mich.] Consolidated Schools.

She will be one of three of the district’s teachers honored by the board of education in May. More than 100 teachers were nominated for the awards by parents, students, teachers, administrators and support staff according to a news story in on candynews.com, the online news service of C&G Newspapers.

In announcing the winners, school officials said they were looking for “more than just capable instructors,” they were looking for “passionate ones.” “It goes beyond student performance; it’s about student engagement, WCS spokesman Robert Freehan told the news service.

“There’s really a heavy emphasis on their ability to understand the needs of kids and really build the skills in a positive way and in an encouraging way, in a way that is engaging,” he said. “It’s much more than just imparting the information. It’s that whole classroom management and engagement process that gets kids enthusiastic about learning.”

Nominees completed applications for evaluation in 10 categories, including their “motivational expertise” and “instructional effectiveness,” and whether they were “mission-driven and passionate” and “positive and real,” he said.

Mason earned a master’s from Marygrove College and received her reading specialist designation from Northern Michigan University.

As a language arts teacher in the district’s Carter Middle School Resource Room. Mason, a language arts teacher, credited her father, a football coach and motivational speaker, for guiding her through student teaching and steering her toward special education, according to the news service.

“Teaching wasn’t my original plan; my father suggested it because at the time, I was always volunteering with organizations to help handicapped individuals,” she said. “He thought I should work with them for a living, since I seemed so drawn to them. I’ve never looked back.”

Mason recalled one group of her students who raised money to help an abandoned Ohio dog that had been struck by a car. After the dog recovered, she adopted the dog and surprised the children with him at Christmas time. “I think that was my all-time favorite special moment — seeing their faces as they met him,” she said, “and Mo is still with me now.”