IRSD 2018-19 Teacher of the Year: It’s a White night!

From left, Indian River School District board of education member Jim Hudson, IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele, IRSD’s 2017-18 Teacher of the Year Lisa Richardson, IRSD’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Courtney White, State Rep. Ruth Briggs King, State Rep. Rich Collins and State Rep. Ron Gray.

DAGSBORO – The thunderous roar from the North Georgetown Elementary School contingent was probably heard all the way up in north Georgetown, perhaps even Milford.

Courtney White, a third-grade teacher at North Georgetown Elementary since 2016, was named Indian River School District’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Thursday evening.

The winner was announced at the district’s annual Teacher of the Year celebration held at Indian River High School.

“I’m blown away, with all of the amazing teachers that are in our district to be recognized this way,” said Ms. White. “To be able to get up every day and get to do something that you love with an amazing community, the Indian River School District, as well as my family at North Georgetown Elementary School with some amazing leaders is, well, I feel lucky. Thank you very much for this honor and congratulations to all of the teachers of the year.”

Seated between fellow finalists Rob Syphard (Millsboro Middle School) and Dara Callaway (East Millsboro Elementary), North Georgetown Elementary School teacher Courtney White holds her bouquet after being selected Indian River School District’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year.

Selected from a pool of 16 building teacher of the year honorees, Ms. White was one of three finalists, the others being Robert Syphard of Millsboro Middle School and Dara Callaway of East Millsboro Elementary School.

Ms. White came to the Indian River district from the Seaford School District, where she was a second-grade and sixth-grade teacher from 2010-16. She was honored as the Seaford district’s Teacher of the Year in 2010-11.

“As a member of the North Georgetown Elementary community, Ms. White is a leader and is well respected by her peers,” said North Georgetown Elementary Principal Heather Cramer. “There are many great educators in the Indian River School District that are more than worthy of this honor, but I have met few educators as passionate as Ms. White. I feel she was an amazing addition to our district and we are lucky to have someone with the willingness to continue to learn and grow as an educator. Her classroom environment she has created is one that I wish my own child could have experienced.”

Ms. White earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Goucher College, a Maryland State Elementary Education Certificate from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore and a master’s degree in applied technology from Wilmington University.

North Georgetown Elementary teacher Courtney White gets a congratulatory hug after being named Indian River School District’s Teacher of the Year for 2018-19.

Ms. White has repeatedly earned praise from her colleagues and administrators for her use of technology in the classroom. This year she implemented a video conferencing initiative with a third-grade teacher at another school to allow students in both classes to experience blended learning.

The celebration saluted all TOY candidates and teachers in general.

IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele said his attendance at the Secretary of Education’s scholars’ dinner in Dover Tuesday night set the stage for Thursday night’s teacher of the year celebration.

“I had a chance to see the best of the best high school seniors in the state and take a look at the five seniors from Sussex Central High School and Indian River High School,” said Mr. Steele. “You see kids that are going to Yale, Princeton, MIT, all of these great colleges, Penn State, and you sit back say, ‘If these kids are going to a major college, how did they get there?’ Very simple: teachers. From the first day those kids walk into kindergarten to the last day they walk out to graduate, the most influential people in the life of a student is a teacher.”

“On behalf of the board of education, I want to congratulate each building teacher of the year being celebrated here tonight,” said IRSD board of education member Jim Hudson. “You represent many outstanding educators in our district. You work hard every day to provide our students with the inspiring instruction that allows them to thrive and become the best that they can be each and every day.”

Ms. White succeeds 2017-18 IRSD Teacher of the Year Lisa Richardson, a reading teacher at East Millsboro Elementary. As the district’s honoree, Ms. White is eligible for the state Teacher of the Year honor, which will be announced in October.

Indian River School District’s 16 building teacher of the year honorees for 2018-19.

2018-19 Building Teachers of the Year

Mallory Anderson, Selbyville Middle School

Dara Callaway, East Millsboro Elementary School (Finalist)

Kathryn Curl, Georgetown Kindergarten Center

Corinne Elliott, Howard T. Ennis School

Lori Hansen, Long Neck Elementary School

Sue Keefer, G.W. Carver Academy

Nichele Lobo, Southern Delaware School of the Arts

Joseph Macaluso, Sussex Central High School

Nate Mohler, Indian River High School

Brian Murphy, Georgetown Middle School

Kelly Namorato, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School

Christine Purcell, Georgetown Elementary School

Robert Syphard, Millsboro Middle School (Finalist)

Jennah Truitt, Lord Baltimore Elementary School

Michelle Truitt, John M. Clayton Elementary School

Courtney White, North Georgetown Elementary School (Finalist)

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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