This year has been filled with unprecedented challenges that everyone has had to endure. Godwin teachers and staff, in particular, have worked tirelessly to adapt to fit the virtual world. Even with this year’s changes, the Godwin community still recognizes the hard work and dedication that teachers and staff put into their jobs.
Every year, three teachers at Godwin are awarded for their hard work. The awards include Teacher of the Year, First Year Teacher of the Year, and the Christie Award.
Dana Morris, the ceramics and art teacher, was awarded Teacher of the Year.
Morris started her teaching career 12 years ago in New York City and later moved to Richmond.
“I taught for four years at a high school in the Bronx before moving to Richmond,” said Morris.
When Morris found out she was awarded Teacher of the Year, she was surprised but also excited.
“I am very honored to be Godwin’s Teacher of the Year for 2021, but more importantly, I am thrilled that fine arts has been recognized in public education,” said Morris.
Morris did not realize she wanted to be a teacher until college. She worked as a teaching assistant in a printmaking class and realized that she loved teaching and working with other people in an art classroom.
Morris’ favorite thing about teaching is how she gets to create, discuss, and teach about the subject she is most passionate about: art.
“Being a teacher means being a lifelong learner, so for me, my job is never boring and I am continually growing as a teacher and expanding my knowledge in all things art and education,” said Morris.
The most important part of teaching for Morris is making connections with her students and watching them grow as individuals.
“The connections I have with my students are by far the most rewarding,” said Morris.
According to Morris, she tends to change her style of teaching based on how the year is going and feedback from previous years.
Since this year school has been virtual, Morris has had to think of new creative ways to teach art.
“[At the beginning of the year] I provided all necessary art materials for Art 1 and Ceramics, “ said Morris.
Morris teaches from a document camera, so the students can see what she is doing. By doing this, she has the ability to demonstrate the different techniques and skills up close on the screen.
Morris’s favorite memory at Godwin is the annual Eagles Expression art show. During Youth Art Month in March, student’s get to showcase their artwork that they have done throughout the year.
“We highlight as many students as possible in this exhibit, in order to represent the wide range of creative talent that exists in our school,” said Morris.
Additionally, Sarah McBride, a geometry and advanced algebra and trigonometry teacher, has been awarded First Year Teacher of the Year.
When McBride found out that she had won, she was excited and flattered to have been chosen.
“I started my career as an optimization analyst, but I soon realized that I wanted a job that was more hands-on and rewarding,” said McBride.
She later became a SAT and ACT tutor and realized that she had a passion for math and working with students.
McBride has embraced the many challenges of this year and has found new teaching methods that work for her students.
“It’s been rewarding to see real learning and growth take place in the virtual classroom,” said McBride.
Getting to know her students and making connections with them has been her favorite thing about teaching so far.
“I have the best students, and they make my job fun. I truly look forward to interacting with them each day,” said McBride.
Even though McBride has not fully experienced the school culture here at Godwin, she thinks Godwin has a fantastic administration and that “[Godwin is] a supportive and encouraging place to be a teacher.”
The Christie Award recognizes a member whose contributions to their school community has been exemplary in service of children and their families.
This year Nicole Hansinger, Godwin’s school counseling director, was awarded the Christie Award.
When Hansinger found out that she had won she was shocked and honored.
“It is so nice of others to consider me for this award,” said Hansinger.
Hansinger has been a school counselor for eight years and has been working at Godwin for three years.
“Godwin is such a great community to work with. The students and staff really make this school what it is,” said Hansinger.
Hansinger always knew that she wanted to help people and make a difference in their lives.
“I believe in the value of education and know that schools are often the heart of the community, so that drew me to this particular area of counseling,” said Hansinger.
Seeing students’ outcomes in life is her favorite part of the job.
“I love when they have the confidence and ability to live out their dreams and become their most authentic selves,” said Hansinger.
School counselors provide students with resources and support that can change students’ lives.
“That is incredibly rewarding to provide them the tools to not just survive but to thrive beyond the walls of Godwin,” said Hansinger.
Everyday there are many moments as a school counselor that impact Hansinger, but the best part is seeing the growth of each individual student.
“It is incredibly impactful when we get to witness the growth and change of our students and when students realize their potential,” said Hansinger.