Language Arts Teacher Selected Among 51 Nominees; Teachers Honored for Classroom Innovation and Creativity
NORWOOD -- May 3, 2019 -- Middle school language arts teacher Rachel Siegel today was named 2019 Norwood Teacher of the Year, capping off a celebration honoring more than 50 Norwood teachers for their classroom innovation and creativity.
Hosted 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. This year’s nominee class was the largest ever, representing Norwood Montessori and every school in the Norwood Public Schools system.
Colleagues nominated Siegel for the dedication, mindfulness, and enthusiasm they said she she puts toward her job.
“Rachel is undeniably committed to her students and the Coakley Middle School. She can always be found after school or during her lunch giving extra help to students in need,” said Coakley teacher and fellow Teacher of the Year nominee Julie Bayiates. She added that Siegel also serves as co-advisor of the CMS Student Council and organizes Coakley Coaches, which matches teachers with certain students who just need another adult to talk to or need a little extra guidance.
“There isn't a day that's gone by that I haven't witnessed Rachel ask a student how she or he is doing if the student looks upset or sad. She teaches and speaks with kindness, patience and positivity and understands that many students come to school with more on their mind than what's being taught in English class,” Bayiates said.
Coakley Middle School Principal Margo Fraczek said, “Rachel is one of the hardest working, forward thinking, and all encompassing middle school teachers I have ever met. Her dedication to grade six students in particular and the Coakley Middle School as a whole is unmatched. As a teacher, Ms. Siegel has embraced every new idea and innovative concept that the Coakley has chosen to explore. She not only tries news ideas but supports her fellow colleagues in implementing them as well.”
Sean Richardson, a past Teacher of the Year winner and member of Orient Lodge, served as one of three program judges. He said, "The first thing you notice when you read her nomination letters was the amount of involvement she has in the lives of the children at the middle school. Her passion for going above and beyond what is expected was vividly evident. All of that coupled with a demonstrated commitment toward the social and emotional needs of her students truly set her apart as the 2019 Norwood Teacher of the Year."
Siegel receives a $1,000 award and an an award plaque. The Coakley Middle School will also receive a $1,000 charitable donation and a plaque for the school building. All nominees received a certificate of nomination and a $75 gift card for Temazcal Tequila Cantina of Dedham.
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 work on special projects and initiatives. A jury comprised of educators from nearby communities reviewed each essay with nominee names redacted, scoring each on the above criteria to select a winner.
More than 70 nominations were submitted on behalf of 51 teachers; many come from Norwood school colleagues. This year Norwood Masons also recognized Jack Tolman, director of TV and video services for the Norwood Public Schools, for his lifetime of service to the students and teachers of Norwood. Tolman was nominated for recognition by Siegel, who noted his sincere, patient, and kind spirit sets him apart .
“Jack Tolman is such an incredible asset to the Norwood Public Schools. He is one of the kindest, most patient, efficient, and hard-working people I have ever worked with. It is hard to understand how someone whose job is entirely based on technology never seems to get flustered or stressed,” Siegel said. “Mr. Tolman is always so genuinely excited and proud to showcase all the positive things going on in the Norwood Public Schools. Any time I have ever been in touch with him about an event, he shows such genuine interest and cannot wait to share it with everyone.”
Originally conceived by the Exchange Club of Norwood, Orient Lodge now proudly organizes the annual event. Previous Teacher of the Year Award winners include:
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
The Norwood Teacher of the Year program is presented by the Orient Lodge of Masons, with additional contributions from Rebal Restaurants, operators of Temazcal Tequila Cantina, and from Norwood Bank.
Follow Orient Lodge @Orient_Norwood, or visit www.orientlodge.org for more information.
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