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STEM Academy Teacher of the Year – Debbie Morris

Debbie Morris and Gil Newton, Director of The STEM Academy

At the September 31, 2016 Opening Day Convocation, STEM Academy Director Gil Newton shared his thoughts about the 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year, Grade 7 English Teacher, Mrs. Debbie Morris… 

Good morning – the STEM Academy’s teacher of the year is Debbie Morris.

Mrs. Morris has been described by her colleagues as “innovative, creative, compassionate, and dedicated.” Her creativity was seen last year in many ways, most notably the formation of the Water for Sudan project which inspired her students to reach out to the community to help others in need. Linking a reading assignment with finding solutions to a real world problem is the essence of Mrs. Morris’ teaching. Her students found connections with all their subjects including art, music, history, science, technology, and language arts.

Her students spoke eloquently at three STEM conferences and organized a widely attended convention to educate the public on this important issue. This year they have been invited to present at the Mass Cue conference in the fall. Her students raised thousands of dollars to provide support for those in Sudan in need of clean water. They did this by speaking to every high school advisory, to the local Rotary club and through online videos that they created as well as the previously mentioned events.

One teacher wrote that “Mrs. Morris represents the best of STEM. She makes connections with every discipline and teaches the advanced use of technology in her curriculum.”  Another wrote that “Mrs. Morris has inspired a love of reading as well as learning to give back to those who have less.” Another who recommended her for this recognition said that “Mrs. Morris is always willing to help each of her students to succeed, to grow outside their comfort zone, and to develop the skills needed to make a positive difference in this world.”

In short, Mrs. Morris is a leader in the STEM Academy, moving the required curriculum forward, providing real world experiences and problem solving for her students, and nurturing and supporting each of them in their educational journey. She also shared her leadership skills as the 7th grade advisor helping with many after school activities and events. She is truly a team player and is always contributing to the improvement of school wide policies.

It is my pleasure and honor to recognize Debbie Morris as teacher of the year.