News Release

Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 295-1164

Wilmington University Alumna is Delaware Teacher of the Year

Appoquinimink French Teacher Lea Wainwright Earned M.Ed. in 2010

Lea Wainwright, a French teacher at Appoquinimink High School and a graduate of Wilmington University, has been named Delaware’s Teacher of the Year for 2014.

Wainwright received her M.Ed. in Applied Educational Technology from Wilmington University in 2010.

In accepting her honor, Wainwright said she was “honored and “amazed” to be named the state’s top educator.

“We all want the same thing for our children. We all want to make sure that they think, and that they think globally. Students and adults alike must be pressed to ponder the big ideas that will shape how the world interacts, not just how the classroom interacts,” Wainwright said.

Wainwright was chosen from 19 nominees, each representing one school district in the state. Gov. Jack Markell announced her as the winner on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, in front of hundreds of guests at an awards ceremony in Dover.

Dr. Jim Wilson, Vice President of Academic Affairs at WilmU, said Wainwright’s award is “a great symbolic representation of the outstanding work of the College of Education faculty.”

Wainwright began her teaching career in 1993. Since then, she has taught at the middle school, high school and community college levels, working in both public and private schools. She spent about 12 of those years in the Appoquinimink School District.

In addition to her master’s degree from WilmU, Wainwright also earned a B.A. in French from the University of Delaware. She had originally planned to pursue a career in business, she said. She loved teaching French, but didn’t think it would be enough to pay the bills.

But after taking a job in marketing after college, she was asked to tutor a struggling student, and her outlook changed.

I remember the chills I got as he looked at me with understanding and gratitude for making some nebulous topic clear,” she said of the student she tutored. “I cried in the car, and then I called the Department of Education to clarify the requirements for becoming a real teacher.”

As part of her Teacher of the Year award, Wainwright will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of her students, as well two personal grants worth an additional $5,000.

About Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit university committed to offering high quality, flexible and career-oriented undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs while maintaining small class sizes, individualized attention and affordable tuition. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636) or toll free 877-967-5464, via email at or visit our website at


Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - New Castle, DE