Shabre A. Providence, a fourth-grade teacher at Ricardo Richards Elementary School on St. Croix, was named the territory’s 2014 State Teacher of the Year, Education Commissioner designee Donna Frett-Gregory announced in a statement released Sunday night.
Providence was named St. Croix District’s Teacher of the Year last week, and Diana Tyson from Lockhart Elementary School was named the St. Thomas-St. John District Teacher of the Year. Both were considered for the state award by an evaluation committee made up of Department officials and representatives from agencies ranging from the V.I. Board of Education to the University of the Virgin Islands.
“I don’t think everything has quite sunk in yet,” Providence said of the selection. “But I am honored – I feel blessed and so ecstatic to have been chosen.”
Providence has been with the department for eight years, after having taught on the mainland. Working in elementary education allowed her to explore all the subject areas and pushed her to look at new and creative ways of teaching everything from art to science, she said.
"My philosophy is based on creating engaging and modern environments for our students to learn in," Providence said."We use lots of technology in our lessons – the students use the Promethean boards everyday – and keep the room interactive. I think this is the best way to prepare them for success in the global community."
Providence said her class of 23 students is diverse, and she makes a point of working with each child as an individual.
"Every one learns at their own pace and has different interests, so I make a point of working with each of them during the day," she said. "It is very important to keep them excited about the work, and as a teacher, you have to understand what each of them responds to."
Providence will now represent the territory at the National State Teacher of the Year Competition, which is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
“The Department of Education offers Ms. Providence our warmest congratulations,” Frett-Gregory said in Sunday’s news release. “We commend her on her outstanding teaching achievements and we are honored that she will be representing the territory at the national conference and other upcoming events.”
Winners of the state Teacher of the Year titles participate in a number of activities, beginning early next year with the National State Teacher of the Year Conference, according to the release.