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Monday September 5, 2016 Edition
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ANWSU Honors Teachers Of The Year

Matt DeBlois and VUES Teacher of the Year Melissa Haggett.
photo by provided
Matt DeBlois and VUES Teacher of the Year Melissa Haggett.
Stephanie Taylor and Meghan McGrath.
photo by provided
Stephanie Taylor and Meghan McGrath.

Monday September 5, 2016

By Cookie Steponaitis

The 200 plus teachers, paraprofessionals, staff and administration of ANWSU gathered in the auditorium of Vergennes Union High School and celebrated the beginning of another school year and the commitment and caring of their people. Awards were presented, photographs taken and applause was generous. Just before the award portion of the gathering ended Principal Matt DeBlois and Principal Stephanie Taylor presented two very special honors.
    Melissa Haggett was selected as the Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2016 and is no stranger to the ANWSU school system. Haggett was raised locally, attended VUES and VUHS and has been a classroom teacher for twenty-one years at VUES and worked for two years before there as a paraprofessional. “I have taught third grade, a multi-age second-third grade classroom and am currently teaching first and second grade,” Haggett said who is excited about the coming year and feels one of the greatest benefits of her job is, “when I get to see the child have an ‘ah-ha’ moment and truly understand the concept they are working on. Seeing them confidently sharing their new knowledge with their peers is fantastic.”
    Both Haggett and McGrath like all educators have teachers in their past who inspired them and helped shape their decision to become involved in education. “It is very difficult to choose just one teacher who inspired me,” explained Haggett. “They were passionate about their profession, set high expectations that were attainable for all students and strived to make a caring connection with their students. I was blessed with many. Just to name a few Ms. Andy Senesac, Mrs. Kitty Muzzy, Mr. Jon Yarnall, Mrs. Ann Sullivan and Mrs. Elma Grant. My mentor teacher during student teaching was a recipient of the Teacher of the Year and she was an amazing first grade teacher. I remember seeing her award and thinking, if one day I received this honor I would be able to fill her shoes.”
    Meghan McGrath was named Middle/High School Teacher of the Year 2016 and has been teaching at VUMS for eight years. McGrath has been an educator for the last thirteen years and loves to find ways to nurture children’s innate curiosity, creativity and love of learning. By having the same students for seventh and eighth grades, McGrath is fascinated to spend time with them through adolescence which is a challenging time in their lives.
    “The most inspiring teacher I had was my 12th grade teacher, Mr. Sam Holt,” explained Meghan McGrath. “I always felt like he saw us students and he took our experiences as seriously as we were taking them, rather than patronizing us which I see now as an adult myself. He also gave his students a voice in the classroom. I felt like Mr. Holt was teaching me about my life and how I should or could live it, not just about people’s lives in the past. As we neared graduation he implored us to go out into the world and ‘get stories’ which I think is great advice.” McGrath feels that the Teacher of the Year honor really speaks to the fact that she works with an incredible team of educators, has a great group of students and an administration that supports and trusts its teachers. “The adults I work with were so enthusiastic and supportive when I proposed doing something innovative like Genius Hour and our students brought amazing energy and creativity to each challenge we put to them. Without the people around adults, students and me none of my proposals would have gotten off the ground.”
    Both McGrath and Haggett look forward with anticipation to a year filled with learning and growth and are thankful for the recognition but quick to thank the community around them that works in concert to teach the youth. “I would like to thank all of the teachers at VUES and VUHS who play a crucial role in the education both now and when I was a youngster,” concluded Haggett. “You have all played a significant role in helping me become the teacher that I am today and for that, I truly thank you.”


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