Smyrna teacher chosen as Delaware’s honoree

DOVER – Sandra Hall, a fourth grade teacher at North Smyrna Elementary School in the Smyrna School District, is Delaware’s 2016 State Teacher of the Year.

Acting Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky made the announcement tonight in front of about 475 invited guests at the Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center in Dover.

Education was a second career for Ms. Hall, who was 44 when she became a full-time teacher. Several factors during her adult life influenced her to pursue education as a profession.

With a background in business, she became a mother at age 31 and discovered a love for fulfilling her daughter’s intellectual needs.

An Army wife for more than 20 years, including 10 spent living in Germany, she also was influenced by her work as a family readiness group leader, supporting other military families. And she found a love for education through her work as a Sunday School teacher and later a substitute teacher in the Smyrna School District.

“Because I did not take the traditional route in becoming a teacher, I have an extensive background of knowledge to incorporate into the many different lessons I teach,” Ms. Hall wrote in her application.

Ms. Hall said she is successful at helping her students grow academically because she takes the time to get to know each one’s “full story,” which may include hunger, medical struggles or problems at home.

“I must take the time to be their counselor, their cheerleader, and their provider before I can tackle academic instruction,” she wrote. “Understanding, accepting, and facilitating their story must come first, then today’s lessons can be accomplished.”

Ms. Hall was selected from the pool of teacher of the year honorees from school districts throughout Delaware.

Teacher of the Year honorees from Sussex County districts included:

  • Indian River: Jennifer L. Cordrey, Indian River High, Grades 9-12 agri-science;
  • Lori Smith, Delmar Middle, Grades 5-8 mathematics;
  • Jenna White, Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center, Grade 1;
  • Sussex Tech: Anthony V. Carmen, Sussex Tech High, Grades 9-12 electronics engineering technology;
  • Ashley Adlam-Hernandez, Blades Elementary, Kindergarten English language arts/social studies;
  • Cape Henlopen: Kristin Gray, Shields Elementary, Grades K – 5 mathematics; and
  • Mary Pierce-Cass, Laurel High, Grade 9 integrated/physical science.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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