Teacher of the Year nominations draw to a close


Ross Parks

Teacher of the Year Award Plaque
This, one of two plaques, hangs aside the activities office in RBHS to commemorate those educators that have received the award. Photo by Ross Parks
As RBHS’ annual Flashback assembly sits now only one week away, the nominations for teacher of the year wrap up this week. Teachers are first nominated by any member of RBHS for the the award, asked to fill out a reason and turn it in by the end of the day.
“It’s an open nomination process…anyone can make a nomination for this award,” Bones said. “There’s a committee consisting of former recipients and administration that select the recipient.”
However, while anyone can nominate, and many registration slips are submitted before the selection is made, only one teacher receives the award each year. Last year’s recipient, Ms. Mary-Margret Coffield, RBHS acting teacher, both reviewed her elation and  perspective on what the award means to her.
“I was so shocked, I couldn’t speak,” Coffield said.  “Every year I would be standing or sitting in the gym while that assembly was going on. I would listen to the description of whoever was getting it and I would, like any teacher would, be relating who I am and, what do I value and what do I think I do, to what I was hearing up there.”
Over the years at RBHS, ten to be exact, Coffield watched as numerous teachers received the award and while never unimpressed by those who received it, couldn’t help but feel an internal struggle about the award.

 “I am looking around at all these kids and I am thinking, I’ll bet every single one of them has a teacher who has impacted them and kept them going day by day. You can’t say there is one person in this school who kind of rises above everybody else,” Coffield said, “so I have always had a certain level of conflict within myself, about it. But what I did experience when I did get it was a kind of affirmation, a feeling that I had never had before in any other context, no matter what I had received.”

The award, one RBHS has been giving out at least since 1990, if not before, has always been one that has been sound in what it represents. The recipients of this award are not only great educators, but the utmost professionals in their field.

“The very first year I was here I was already National Board Certified which is something only a small number of teachers get done and I was only one of two people in this school who was National Board Certified when I came,” Coffield said. “But even so I had really a strong sense of how teaching matters and how to make myself be a better teacher…and I came about in this environment and my brain was blown away, because I was no longer the most skilled teacher in my teaching community, I was watching masters at work.”

Overall, while the accolade helped solidify years of hard work, in a way even she didn’t expect, she says she only feels some other colleagues of hers have received the recognition that have earned.

 “I would say that when I see the names listed on that award they represent not only excellent teachers,” Bones said, “but people who have given a lot of their time and energy as well as expertise to RBHS to help make this a great place. It’s a solid crowd.”

By Ross Parks