ETBU Alum Named Region VII Elementary Teacher of the Yearby Hannah DeClerk-News Messenger
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (8/4/12)-For the second year in a row, a Robert E. Lee Elementary School educator has been named Elementary Teacher of the Year by Region 7 Education Service Center.
Marshall ISD fourth grade reading and social studies teacher Sharone Woolen will represent Region 7 as its nominee for the 2013 Texas Teacher of the Year.
"I was excited when I was nominated for the district, but when I opened the letter saying I will represent the region in Austin, that was huge,” Ms. Woolen said. "There are just so many schools in our region alone, so it is just such an honor.”
Ms. Woolen is no stranger to the Marshall community. Born and raised in Marshall, she is a "proud” 1993 graduate of Marshall High School.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from East Texas Baptist University in 1997.
In April 2011, she decided to go back to school to receive her Master of Education in Curriculum Instruction, also from ETBU, and graduated May 2012.
She has 15 years of teaching experience, 10 of which are at Marshall ISD. Three of her years were spent as a second grade teacher at Carver Elementary, six teaching second grade and one year as a fourth grade instructor at Robert E. Lee Elementary.
Prior to her work at MISD, Woolen served as a 1st grade teacher and Team Leader at George P. Hendrix Elementary in the Caddo Parish School District.
She is an eight-time recipient of the district Teacher of the Year Award.
After 14 years of teaching, she said she was tired of teaching the younger grades, and decided she needed a change.
"Sometimes that is a hard pill to swallow when you become comfortable. I needed something different. I needed a challenge,” she said.
She said she never once thought she would want to teach a "tested” grade, however, switching to fourth grade was one of the best decisions she had ever made.
"It was a wonderful, challenging experience and I am so glad God pushed me to do it and in my little comfortable zone,” she said.
She said she was worried the fourth grade students would not enjoy the "cutesy sticker” teaching method such as second graders, but she found she was wrong.
"They are just kids in bigger bodies. And I realized that this year. Yes, they are more mature and independent, but they still love the little things,” she said. "It is something about the older children, and being independent while also loving the warm types of things as well.”
She said she is a different type of teacher in that she enjoys singing, dancing and even rapping with her students.
"I think when people walk by my room they wonder what is going on in there,” she said. "You never know-- at any given moment I could just stop and say let’s dance. So it was very lively in my room.”
She said she is all about a team, and working with her fellow teachers to "think outside the box” and making learning fun for the students.
"It is about getting away from the worksheet and the textbook,” she said. "If I am bored teaching, I can’t imagine how my students feel. I always tell my students you can learn and have fun at the same time.”
She said what makes her and her fellow teachers stand out, including last year’s region VII nominee first-grade teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary School, Lisa Carroll, is the fact that they are a "very close knit family.”
"We are all about putting kids first. And I think that is in all the schools. But I work alongside some amazing people, which is a great honor,” she said.
On Aug. 3, Ms. Woolen competed against the 38 other Regional Teachers of the Year, which are reviewed by a panel of judges where six finalists are selected.
The six finalists are invited to Austin for personal interviews, before the Elementary Teacher of the Year and the Secondary Teacher of the Year is chosen.
(Used by permission www.marshallnewsmessenger.com)