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Cibola's Jason Carter is Teacher of Year
Yuma County Teacher of the Year for 2011 is Jason Carter, a U.S. history and Academic Decathlon teacher at Cibola High School.
He explained that as soon as his name was announced, “My breath was taken away, it was beyond words.”
Carter, who has been teaching for three years at Cibola, said that he has been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by exceptional teachers growing up and he shared that his mother had been a teacher and his brother-in-law and sister are also instructors.
When asked why he initially decided to pursue teaching as a career, he replied simply that it was a part of his very nature.
“I think you can learn to be a lot of different professions, but I think you're either born a teacher or you're not and I was just born to be a teacher. I came from a family of teachers and that is just who we are.”
Carter described his teaching style as interactive, noting that he often has his students up and out of their seats as opposed to a dictation method of instructing.
“I try to keep my kids as engaged as possible by having them take ownership of the learning.”
“Walk into any of Jason's classes and students are on task either listening, writing, thinking, collaborating, conversing or reading plus much more,” said Cibola Principal Tony Steen. “Jason instinctively knows when to include the use of high-tech equipment such as a Promethean (SMART) board for formative assessments, displays, and Internet links to spark student interest and understanding.”
Along with a commemorative trophy, Carter receives three credit hours from Northern Arizona University-Yuma, a Paul Harris Fellowship award from Yuma Rotary Club that represents $1,000 donated to the Rotary Foundation to be used for eradicating polio and increasing the scholarships given to students to study abroad. Also, he will get a $1,000 gift card to Staples donated by Time Warner Cable, a seven-day trip for two to Hawaii presented by Yuma Investment Group Wealth Management and an AWC Presidential Teacher of the Year scholarship that allows him to select a young adult to become a teacher by attending Arizona Western College with tuition covered for two years.
Josh Silverthorn, a physical education teacher for pre-K through first-grade students at Valle del Encanto Learning Center, won for the first-year teacher award. Teresa Kennedy, a third-grade teacher at Wellton Elementary School, was the winner of the primary finalists, kindergarten through third grade.
Intermediate finalist winner was Ana Bravo, fourth-grade teacher at Orange Grove Elementary School, while the special area/special education finalist winner was Alma Sandigo, an instructional coach for K-6 at Desert View Elementary School.
For junior high school finalist, Brandy Shill, language arts teacher at Mohawk Valley School, earned top recognition. Monique Manifold, an Advanced Placement English teacher at Cibola High School, earned an honor as the high school finalist.
The college and university finalists who were recognized included Zoe Hawk, AWC professor of biology; Lee Gibbs, AWC professor of mathematics; and Dean Pielstick, a clinicalprofessor of management at NAU's Department of Business and Administration based on the Yuma campus, all honored for their dedication and outstanding contributions to education.
For the Educational Hall of Fame awards, Rachel Moran was the recipient of the Estelle Dingess Award given to those who are a product of the local area who later went on to make a significant impact outside of Yuma County. Moran is the first Latina to be the dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Somerton Rotary Club and one of its members, Richard Geyer, were presented with the Outstanding Organization Award for the their work providing quality contributions to the educational environment in Yuma County. The group has sponsored the Dictionary Project since 2000 and for the past few years, Geyer has handed out more than 3,000 dictionaries annually to third-grade students in Arizona to be used in their classes or at home.
The Frances Woodard Award, given to individuals who are products of the Yuma County school system who have made a considerable impact on the community, was bestowed upon Judge Tom Cole. Among his many accomplishments was the establishment of an adult drug court in Yuma County in 1998 to help nonviolent drug offenders break their cycle of addiction and become productive, wage-earning contributors to society.
Gary Knox, previous superintendent of the Crane Elementary School District for 17 years, was recognized with the Professional Educator Award for his work in Yuma, which includes opening five new or replacement schools and carrying out the remodeling of two others in addition to various other accomplishments that helped not only the teachers, but the students of the district.
Coach Dean Stout and La Vera Augenstein received the Professional Educator Award.
Stout moved to Yuma in 1961 and took a position at Kofa High School, where he taught physical education and began coaching. He has taught nearly 20,000 students in physical education, coached varsity baseball for 29 years, freshman football for 38 years, five years of junior varsity football, two years of junior varsity softball and four years of junior varsity basketball.
Augenstein spent 28 years teaching at schools in Yuma Elementary District 1 at Post Elementary School and O.C. Johnson School and was recognized for accomplishments including serving on District 1's Technical Advisory Committee for the district library and helping to develop the district's computer curriculum.
The 24th Yuma County Teacher of the Year awards banquet was sponsored by the Education Foundation of Yuma County and the Rotary Clubs of Yuma.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858.