CCPS Innovative Teachers of the Month for September

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, November 10, 2022

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Kristen Duffer is a second grade Math and Science teacher at Bacon District Elementary School. She constantly seeks new and innovative teaching practices in her classroom. She uses technology in her lessons, often in multiple ways, to engage her students. Her use of programs and apps like Blooket, Kahoot, and Quizizz are examples of her desire to find new ways to help her students learn.

Lisa Finnegan is a teacher at Central Middle School. Finnegan uses her creativity daily in her Art classes. She is always looking for new and exciting ways to spark her students’ love for Art. Finnegan also uses technology to assist with classroom management. She uses an electronic classroom noise level meter to help her students while working on group projects. This webpage uses fun graphics to gauge the classroom’s noise level, giving the students alerts for redirection. Her students are doing great things through these fun, creative, technology-enhanced lessons.

The recipient of the Innovative Teacher Award at Eureka for September is Sarah Critzer. As a music educator, Critzer realizes that all of her students come to her with different backgrounds, experiences, and loves of music. In addition, they all have different perspectives of what music is. This can make engaging students in music extremely difficult. Critzer, however, uses this as an opportunity to expose the students to many different musical genres and instruments. Critzer was selected as September’s recipient because it is evident that she loves music, and she shares that love with her students every time she teaches them. She incorporates movement and academic skills into her music instruction to engage students and help improve their academic skills. In addition, Critzer is always looking for ways to help provide a creative outlet for our students. She organizes musical programs where students perform throughout the year. She helps each grade level prepare the music for their parent-teacher luncheons. She has organized the upcoming talent show and plans to work on the 5th grade play.

Nathaniel Estes, the Bacon District and Phenix Elementary Schools music teacher, has really upped his digital game this year. He has incorporated the use of a 3D printer into his music lessons. Estes designed and printed a variety of musical instruments. He uses these to demonstrate how the instruments and 3D printer work. For his work with this, he has been named the Phenix Elementary Innovative Teacher for September 2022.

Randolph-Henry High School (R-H) would like to recognize Kristin Barton as the September recipient of the Innovative Teacher Award. Barton teaches English 10 as well as our Dual Enrollment English courses through Southside Virginia Community College. She plays an active role as a senior sponsor at R-H by helping to coordinate important events such as the senior trip and graduation. Barton is a highly innovative teacher. In fact, last year she received an award from the Southside Regional Technology Consortium for her use of technology in the classroom. This year, Barton taught a lesson on the Victorian Era where she recreated a traditional Victorian-style tea party for her students. In addition, Barton’s students took a field trip to the Wolfswood Faire for a fun-filled day of activities related to Macbeth and medieval times. To accompany a unit on Shakespeare, students also visited the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. Next month, Barton’s students will visit the Poe Museum as well as the Valentine Museum. Her lessons create a truly immersive experience for students as they seek to read and understand works of literature from various eras.