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Forestdale Teacher of the Year 2015-2016: Meet Patty Ellis!

Marc Smith, Principal of Forestdale School, shared the following observations about the Forestdale Teacher of the Year, Patty Ellis… 

In the four years that I have done this speech, I have never had more submissions for this award than I did this year.  The numbers of submissions were high in both the variety that I received and in the volume that I received for this year’s winner.  The variety speaks to the quality of staff that I am fortunate to work with everyday at Forestdale. The submissions covered positions in general education, special education, teachers and support staff.  However, as I went through the submissions given to me, one name was nominated again and again.

Some of the things said about the Forestdale Teacher of the year include, “It is truly hard to put into words how wonderful this person is.  She goes above and beyond for not only her students but for the staff in her classroom.”  “She was asked to take on additional responsibilities and challenges last year and never hesitates to do so.”  “She made me feel so comfortable about my new position.  She stayed by my side until I felt being comfortable alone.”  “She inspires me”  “She is the first person to offer to help any child.”  Does an “Amazing job with students, helping them to become a part of the school community.”  “A dedicated, kind and giving professional.  Not only does she exhibit these qualities to her students through her teaching, but also to her staff and colleagues.”

In addition to what her colleagues have said about her, I have had the privilege of working with this educator both during my time at the Forestdale School and my time at the Wing School.  In that time, I have come to know a few things about this educator.

First, she is fiercely committed to her students.  I have seen her stay with a child for an hour as he tantrumed and all throughout she stayed calm, continuing to prompt the child and support him in regulating his own behavior.  And as soon as the tantrum was over, she moved forward.  If the tantrum affected her feelings towards him, she never showed it.  The smile quickly returned to her face, her voice was warm and welcoming as she helped the student make reparations for his behavior.

Second, she is a dedicated professional.  This past year, a series of unfortunate events forced the educator at times to do the work of three educators.  While advocating for her needs and the needs of her program in completely professional manner, she also rose to the challenge.  Any stress that she was feeling did not affect her interactions with her staff, students or leadership in the building.  Always with calm professionalism and a smile, that reflects every conversation with the Forestdale Teacher of the Year.

Third, she cares for her team.  Most teachers do not find themselves in a position where they lead a team of other educators; it is not the organizational structure in most public school settings.  However, sometimes a program is designed in a way that requires an educator to not only be a fabulous teacher but also an impactful leader.  One characteristic of a quality leader is the way that the leader cares for those he/she leads.  The Forestdale Teacher of the Year has shown time and time again through both what I have observed and what members of the team have shared with me that she cares deeply about her team, both during their time at our school and in wherever their life takes them afterward.

It is with great pride that I give you the Forestdale Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Patty Ellis