Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
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Wilmington University Grad Named 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year
Wendy Turner's 2010 M.Ed. led her from the boardroom to the classroom
For Wendy Turner, Delaware's 2017 Teacher of the Year, a mid-career master's degree from Wilmington University helped her to bridge the gap between her occupation and her calling.
Turner, a second grade teacher at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in Wilmington, was honored by her statewide peers as well as by Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware Secretary of Education Steven H. Godowsky, State Board of Education President Teri Quinn Gray, and state lawmakers at an annual awards banquet at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.
Turner has been teaching in the Brandywine School District since completing her M.Ed. in elementary education at Wilmington University in 2010, a change of course from the bachelor's in accounting she earned at Boston College and the career she began in business.
"Growing up, I never thought I would teach," she wrote in an application essay for the award. "I dreamt of becoming a businessperson, sitting at a desk, doing what I believed was important. After graduating college, I worked at a large CPA firm in a big city — my dream fulfilled.
"Thirteen years later, it hit me. I just did not want to work in corporate America anymore," she described. "By then I was married, a mother to an eight-month-old daughter and aunt to five nieces and nephews. Being a parent greatly changed my perspective and was a significant factor in influencing my deep desire to do something meaningful; I wanted to be a teacher."
"She came to WilmU to learn how to be a teacher," said John Gray, Ed.D. dean of the College of Education, who recalled her perfect 4.0 grade point average and outstanding ratings from instructors and supervisors. "She did her student teaching in first grade, where her cooperating teacher was Courtney Fox, another WilmU grad who had just been named Delaware's 2008 Teacher of the Year. Wendy's principal at that time was Joyce Skrobot, who is now a College of Education adjunct program coordinator.
"I'd call that a sweep," he added.
A video of Turner being interviewed after this week's awards ceremony can be viewed by clicking here. She will represent the state in the 2017 National Teacher of the Year Awards Program, which announces its winner in April.
Delaware's Teacher of the Year Award considers one educator from each of the state's 19 school districts, as well as its charter school network. The candidates are nominated for their "superior ability to inspire students with a love of learning, exemplary demonstration of professional traits and strong sense of dedication and devotion to teaching," according to the Delaware Department of Education.
To decide the competition, department staff members evaluate portfolios demonstrating the candidates' teaching philosophies and visit their classrooms, along with a former state teacher of the year, to observe them in action. A second review is then conducted by a panel of judges from outside the department.
In addition to representing the state's 9,000 public school teachers, Delaware's Teacher of the Year addresses community groups, business leaders, state legislators and others on educational issues. The winner receives a $5,000 grant toward her students' educational benefit, a $3,000 personal grant and a $5,000 grant from Voya Financial, which, along with the Hope Street Group, sponsored the awards ceremony. Nominees received $2,000 grants from the state.
About Wilmington University
Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Ranked as the second fastest growing nonprofit doctoral institution in America 2004 – 2014 by The Almanac of The Chronicle of Higher Education, affordable tuition, academic excellence and individualized attention are hallmarks of the University that enable greater student success in their chosen careers. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website: www.wilmu.edu.