Remote Learning Academy and Cleveland School Teacher Patricia Kelliher Named 2021 Norwood Teacher of the Year
Kelliher Selected Among 29 Nominees;
Teachers Honored for Classroom Innovation, Response to Pandemic Challenges
NORWOOD -- June 4, 2021 -- Remote Learning Academy and Cleveland School Teacher Patricia Kelliher was named the 2021 Norwood Teacher of the Year, highlighting a celebration honoring 29 Norwood teachers for their ability to inspire and engage students. Teresa Drummey, the 2020 Norwood Teacher of the Year, announced the winner on Norwood Community Media this evening.
Organized annually by the Orient Lodge of Masons, the Norwood Teacher of the Year awards recognize teachers for their dedication and commitment to the education of Norwood students. Kelliher received two nominations from parents, both of which underscored the creative ways she kept first graders engaged in an all-remote program, and the extra steps she took to make her students feel special and be excited to learn, from frequent visits to student homes to drop off goody bags on birthdays and holiday to her constant encouraging refrain that her class were the G.O.A.T.s -- the greatest of all time.
“One of the challenges of online learning is that they are in their home setting. It's easy for a child to stay in home mode instead of school mode. Mrs. Kelliher keeps a watchful eye and gently reminds the student that it's school time. When they have specials or class guests the students are reminded of their nickname and they are quick to want to live up to it. It takes skills to keep 20 plus first graders engaged day after day from behind a screen, but the magic of Mrs. Kelliher is that she makes it feel like they're in a class,” said parent Amy Dee. “Everyday there are a million different ways in which Mrs. Kelliher engages the children. She is perceptive to the mood of the class. If it seems the children are losing steam she has them get up and move around or if they appear to need a break from the screen she has them do an activity on paper.”
Courtney Rau Rogers, who served as one of the program’s three judges, said, "What struck me about all the nominees this year was how many teachers from the Remote Learning Academy were nominated. Teachers had to build the plane while flying it this year, and all of these essays showed a determination and love of their craft that they were going to teach the kids in front of them. They weren't just boxes on a screen; they were kids who needed so much more than ever, and these teachers delivered.”
She added, “Mrs. Kelliher found a great balance between the developmental levels of first graders and the challenges of a remote learning environment. Plus, giving them so much positive praise and calling them the G.O.A.T.S. hooked them in from the beginning and held them all year."
Juror Shivaun Brenizer said, “I was a bit skeptical of what the field of nominees would look like this year; teaching while not actually being near students, over Zoom, many on computers for the first time, sounds like chaos. But I was so unbelievably impressed by the field of nominations for Teacher of the Year this year. These teachers had to learn a new way of teaching. They not only met but exceeded expectations. I was really impressed with all of the nominees.” Roxanne Shute also served as a program juror.
Kelliher receives a $1,000 award and an award plaque. The F.A. Cleveland School will also receive a $1,000 charitable donation and a plaque for the school building. The five finalists also receive a $100 gift card to One Bistro of Norwood in recognition of their achievement. Finalists included Elizabeth Robin, Kim Beaudet, Sterling Blonder, and Jennifer Hartnett.
Earlier this year nominations were solicited from the community; each nomination attested to their nominee’s innovation and creativity, ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, and response to the challenges of the pandemic. In all, 38 nominations were submitted on behalf of 29 teachers by students, parents and colleagues.
Originally conceived by the Exchange Club of Norwood, Orient Lodge now proudly organizes the annual event. Previous Teacher of the Year Award winners include:
2020 - Teresa Drummey, Norwood High School
2019 - Rachel Siegel, Coakley Middle School
2018 - Joy Hughey, Cleveland Elementary
2017 - Cynthia Derrane, Norwood High School
2016 - Laura Tolman, Willett Early Childhood Center
2015 - Lindsey Bell, Prescott Elementary
2014 - Dr. Michael Crowley, Norwood High School
2013 - Michael Finnerty, Prescott Elementary
2012 - Nora Glynn, Norwood High School
2011 - Scott Maffei, Oldham Elementary
2010 - Laurel Cawley, Prescott Elementary
2009 - Debbie Shook, Oldham Elementary
2008 - Kathryn Benson, Norwood High School
2007 - Sean Richardson, Balch Elementary
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