As an annual tradition, one educator is selected as Teacher of the Year for each respective grade level of elementary, middle, and high school. This year, Thursday, Oct. 13, fifth-grade teacher Paige Chapman, social studies teacher Christine Braun and economics teacher Kelley Krejnik were each surprised with a visit from Principal Dr. Stephen Covert and awarded the Teacher of the Year for their respective levels. Out of these three winners, Braun was later announced as overall Teacher of the Year and will represent Pine View in the county. Award recipients were nominated based on faculty nominations, with staff members at elementary, middle and high school levels initially choosing a teacher from their respective level, and later choosing one of the three winners as an overall winner.
According to Braun, she was very surprised by the nomination. Braun, who has taught at Pine View for a total of 11 years said, “I was so surprised and my face was so red the whole time…The award is the best compliment I could receive. I’m humbled.”
Braun said that she initially thought that the award was going to someone else. “When I saw Dr. Covert and Mrs. Fair outside with the balloons, I thought they were going to another one of the classes at first, but they started walking toward my room and I was shocked,” she said. This is Braun’s second year winning the middle school Teacher of the Year Award, and first time winning overall Teacher of the Year.
Braun originally taught fourth-grade classes at Pine View for six years, and made the switch to middle school five years ago to teach seventh-graders civics. Additionally, this is her second year teaching AP European History classes to high school students. Regarding her switch to higher grade levels, Braun said, “At first I kind of felt new to middle school, but now I really feel that I’m doing the right thing, and I definitely have a stronger voice to share my opinions now.”
Outside of the classroom at Pine View, Braun works with the class of 2018 as co-sponsor for the class, helping coordinate class fundraisers and events including class meetings, Kid’s Night Out, and the dunk tank at this year’s Pine View Fair.
On the subject of her award’s effect on her teaching, Braun said, “It shows me that I’m working in the right direction and I should keep doing what I’m doing. I’m really going with the flow of the students, because they’re the most important ones.”
This is Krejnik’s third year as a economics teacher at Pine View. When recognized as the high school Teacher of the Year, Krejnik said, “Dr. Covert and Mrs. Nzeza actually came in with balloons and the award during Ms. Fidler’s class, because we share a classroom, and I was really surprised and embarrassed at the same time.”
In response to being asked what she thinks good teacher can do to become great, Krejnik said, “Talking with the students and listening to their feedback is important, and it’s helped me improve myself as a teacher.”
Along with teaching, Krejnik is involved as chair of the Sensitivity Task Force. She additionally sponsors clubs including Third Wave and Finance Management, Hospitality and Marketing Club.
In response to the winning the award, Krejnik said, “It really pushes me to make good better, and be an even better teacher.”
After receiving a surprise visit from Dr. Covert and Assistant Principal for grades two through five Allison Rini, Chapman said, “I was so surprised because I work with such incredible people. I really think it should be Teachers of the Year.” Chapman has taught at Pine View for 10 years now at the elementary level.
When asked if the recognition would affect her teaching, she said, “It’s all about the kids and making sure that they’re learning and having fun. I’m going to keep making sure to keep it up.”
Including her work teaching fifth-grade classes, Chapman has also worked as a member of the Pine View Climate Committee as well as the Co-Editor of the elementary yearbook.
In regards to being asked what the most important part of teaching is, Chapman said, “Being willing to make mistakes and focusing on the kids is definitely most important. They’re what it’s all about.”