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Sullivan Community Education Foundation

SCEF Teacher of Excellence Award 2008

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Principal Joe Marks with Teacher of Excellence Award Recipient for 2008 - Rikki Ray

It is my pleasure to have the honor this evening of introducing this year's Teacher of Excellence for the Sullivan Community Education Foundation. This honor has been given to many of Sullivan's staff members over the years and this person has the characteristics of the previous honorees - the characteristics of an excellent teacher.

The first characteristic is being organized and having the details of the classroom under control. There is a clear sense of getting done what needs to be done and this teacher does that.

The second characteristic is a commitment to the students as a whole person. There must to be an understanding of the needs of the students. Humor is a vital part as well as an ability to overlook the smaller issues in favor of the more important - the students. If anything, this focus on the student favors the less able rather than the gifted, the needy and naughty rather than the best behaved. An excellent teacher cares about their students. Excellent teachers see that this affective bond, as basic to their understanding of how they relate to their students. 'CARE' encapsulates this affective commitment of excellent teachers to their students.

The last characteristic of these teachers is a personal commitment to their students. What is worthy of note is the consequence of this commitment: - ENERGY. Excellent teachers speak about teaching being life giving, of coming alive in the classroom, of teaching being so energizing. This life-giving sense comes at the same time as recognizing the difficulties of teaching: low pay and constant work with demanding adolescents and sometimes demanding parents. Excellent teachers are tired and exhausted at the end of the day. They give their all to their students.

Excellent teachers are motivated and energized by their students, they love them as individuals and this affective commitment moves them to act for their benefit.

In addition to their normal duties in the classroom, Excellent Teachers have a distinctive role in helping other teachers improve their effectiveness and have a major impact on improving pupil achievement across the whole school. Excellent Teachers are motivated by supporting and helping their colleagues to improve.

Through my years together at Sullivan Middle School, I have come to admire this teacher more and more. The dedication, the commitment, the work ethic, and the caring for our school and students led me to nominate her for the 2008 Teacher of Excellence Award. It is my pleasure to present to you this evening, Rikki Ray, Teacher of Excellence!

Joe Marks, Middle School Principal

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Rikki Ray and Family

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