Every year at Danville School the honor of Teacher of the Year is selected. Teacher of the Year is chosen by the CCSU Administrative Team which is a group of principals and administrators from the central office. When looking for a recipient of Teacher of the Year, the team looks for dedication to the profession, energy and enthusiasm for learning, commitment to students and the life of the school, and a demonstration of belief that each student can learn every day. The nominees are then voted on and the winners are invited to an awards banquet at the University of Vermont where they are publicly recognized.
This year not one but two Teachers of the Year were recognized. Judy Dunnan is a speech and language pathologist who has been teaching for 38 years. Her passion for teaching started when had her first babysitting job at age 13, and in high school when she worked with a boy with cerebral palsy. Today Dunnan works with children in all grades who have developmental challenges.
"Being with the students is always my favorite. The paperwork we have to do in special education is my least favorite activity. Fortunately, most of my time is spent right there with the students. I enjoy working with them in their classrooms as well. Collaborating with teachers to help students learn is very rewarding." This is Dunnan's third year working at both Peacham and Danville and the award she says, "means that I won't be retiring yet."
The second Teacher of the Year award goes to Nick Decaro. Decaro is a first-year fifth- and sixth-grade teacher here at Danville School. Decaro is a 2010 graduate from the University of Vermont, and decided to be a teacher for several reasons. "One ... would be my father. He instilled in me at a very early age that if you can help change just one person's life for the better, then you can make a difference in the world. For me, he was that person. After he passed away, it really motivated me to make a difference in other people's lives. Now every morning when I wake up I have the opportunity to change someone's life in a positive way."
When Decaro is in the classroom, he gets to know the students and tries to make them feel welcome. He also adds a little humor during the day to keep them interested. "Unbelievable" is the word Decaro used to describe his reaction to being recognized. "This honor means that teaching is exactly where I belong. It's my goal not only to help students excel academically, but to help them develop the tools and strategies it will take to navigate out in the real world."
Noah Noyes is the principal at Danville High School. He noted, "It is an honor to recognize Judy Dunnan and Nick Decaro with this award. They are skilled educators that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children each day. We are lucky to have such outstanding professionals at Danville School."