In trying to decide who to pass this award to, I have asked myself many times what criteria to use. There are so many here deserving of this award. There are those who are selfless, kind, and giving. I know many who go the extra mile everyday and who believe the best in their students. Many are popular with students because of their fun and engaging lessons. Many are less noticed, but quietly do amazing things for students and staff alike. Then I asked myself what does it mean to have the spirit of a mustang?
Mustangs are a mythic symbol of freedom, heroism, romance, limitless possibilities, and the vanishing West. Along with that fantasy, wild horses also embody some of the intractable complexities and contradictions of modern American life.
As teachers we deal daily with complexities and contradictions. That might be how students see us, how we feel about the job, or just the complexities of human nature. Heaven knows our students bring enough complexity to this job for all of us. Some amongst us, in spite of the daily grind of this job continue to help us believe in the limitless possibilities of human capacity, to believe that what we do everyday matters. They push themselves and their students to the limits and help them see the wonder of the human mind and the world around us. They take complex things and make them simple. Simple enough that a 7th or 8th grader can understand it. They make sense of a disorderly sometimes chaotic work and keep the end goal in mind: Student learning. They help other teachers align and design their curriculum. They are a support to their department and new teachers. They understand the basics of this profession and teach others to use the data to improve. The person that has helped me see and focus the most on the basics this year is….Julie Hammari. Julie is an incredible teacher; driven, organized, and knowledgeable. She has clear expectations and knows how to use the data to see if students have met those expectations. She is always willing to reteach something or try something new to help students learn. She has helped me improve my curriculum in both content and DOK level. She is a great friend and valued member of our science team. Thank you Julie for helping us and our students reach our potential.