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These are the words Teacher of the Year, Susan Rigby, used to describe students in her mathematics class. The other finalists for Teacher of the Year in Escambia County (FL) used similar descriptions: “discussions,” “provide resources and then step aside and let them go,” “celebrate special events,” and “self-directed learning” (Kourkounis, 02.27.2013). Not surprising is that students remained the focus when Rigby was selected as the district’s top teacher responding, “I wish my students were here” (Kourkounis 02.28.2013).

The video below shares more about how Rigby engages students in her classroom with mini white boards. She describes how individual white boards are used to engage students:

Encourages all students to answer/participate

Lessens students being intimidated

Increases number of teacher questions

Allows instant feedback


Nearly 60 teachers across Escambia County are honored each year as Teacher of the Year in their respective school. Supported by decades of research, more than any factor, a teacher is the greatest influencer of student achievement. We are lucky to have many great teachers! Like a few of my colleagues, I am fortunate to have been a teacher of high school students and a teacher of teachers and leaders. Today, each of us is grateful to engage in professional work with teachers and witness the difference they are making in students’ lives.

Teachers deserve opportunities to have purpose, do worthwhile work, and feel they are making a difference. What value do teachers have? Many students consider teachers their heroes. To reinforce the teacher as hero http://TeacherShoutOut.com invites you to share a story about your favorite teacher.

TeacherShoutOutMy colleagues and I also shared our favorite teacher stories on our Facebook page as a comment under the “Thanks” teacher shout out post. We invite you to add your own story and read the stories of others who contribute. We anticipate there will be many stories that parallel that of Ms. Rigby… a celebration of Ms. Rigby as a top teacher and a hero to her students. Thank you for your commitment to students.

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Kourkounis, Erin. (02.27.2013). Escambia Teachers have a “Passion for the Profession.” Pensacola News Journal. Available online here.

Kourkounis, Erin. (02.28.2013). Pine Forest’s Rigby named Escambia Teacher of the Year. Pensacola News Journal. Available online here.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education’s parent satisfaction, employee engagement, and service excellence surveys. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.