The St. Thomas-St. John school district has selected Jeune Provost from Julius Sprauve School and St. Croix has selected Juliette Heddad-Millier from Lew Muckle Elementary as teachers of the year for 2015, the school system announced Wednesday
A second grade and intervention teacher at Lew Muckle for the past six years, St. Croix’s Heddad-Miller is committed to empowering students by helping them get to the root cause of any issues they’re having in the classroom.
“I try to reach the children by understanding where they are in the beginning and figuring out what they need to learn to get them to move forward,” Heddad-Miller said in a statement from Education. “The job of a teacher is to know what makes a child tick, and to determine — because children learn at all different levels and speeds — how best to help them succeed," she said.
A reading recovery teacher for many years, Heddad-Miller, for example, uses sports as a teaching engagement tool.
“We’ve studied books about basketball, using in part the Common Core strategies for close reading,” she said recently, adding that school coaches were also brought in at the end of the lesson for training sessions that would further spark the students’ interest.
“Observing the students’ development afterward, it’s evident the growth in their self-esteem, especially in the way that they walked and talked,” Heddad-Miller said. “It is a joy and pleasure to witness the impact that these short sessions have on students and I am confident and committed that by continuing this work, the students’ proficiency will not only increase, but so will their confidence.”
St. Croix Superintendent Gary Molloy said this week that being in Heddad-Miller’s classroom was “truly exciting.”
“Determining the Teacher of the Year is always very difficult,” Molloy said. “Our candidates are all strong, competent, and they exhibit and showcase that real teaching and love of children. However, our District team went out and made some actual observations and based on that, it was very clear that this year’s winner, Mrs. Juliette Heddad-Miller was truly deserving of the honor. Mrs. Heddad-Miller is very exciting – she gets her students ready to learn, she demonstrates a true passion and has truly mastered both the art and science of teaching. Every parent would want their child in her classroom.
Now in her sixth year of teaching on St. Croix, Heddad-Miller said she has been exposed to a cadre of “brilliant” elementary teachers, all of whom are just as passionate about helping their students learn.
“To be chosen for this, among all of the greatest and best that we have, I am truly honored,” she added.
On St. Thomas-St. John, Sprauve’s Provost is committed to creating an educational system in the classroom that works for and with her students.
“I believe it is my responsibility to inspire students by providing a caring and stimulating environment, where they can grow, mature and take risks free of embarrassment,” Provost, a third grade teacher at the school, said. “With the use of imagination, I allow students the freedom to present what they know in the best way they know how. I enthusiastically engage students in lessons that address each child’s learning style. I am a firm believer in the theory of multiple intelligences and how those intelligences play in the development of differentiation and a student centered approach to learning. “
Whether it’s filming public service announcements for a unit about recycling or developing a presidential campaign for lessons on government, Provost’s lessons are rigorous, hands-on and identify with a simple teaching philosophy: that every child has the ability to learn through inspiration, imagination, and a teacher’s dedication
“My teaching style is to challenge students to question their own thinking and validate their understanding,” Provost said. “I challenge students to reach outside their comfort zones in meaningful ways.”
Adding that the work of inspiring students in the classroom is “the most gratifying part” of being a teacher, Provost said she has met countless other educators across the district that are just as dedicated to the job.
“To have been selected out of such an impressive cadre of teachers is truly an honor,” she said this week after the district announcement was made. “I take on this responsibility with pride and humility and it is my hope that I can use my role as St. Thomas-St. John District Teacher of the Year to help educators in my district achieve successful, engaging, and inspiring classrooms across our beautiful islands. I am so thankful to my colleagues, but most of all o my family for their continued and unconditional support. I am truly blessed.”
Just last year, now Interim St .Thomas-St. John Superintendent Dionne Wells was working closely with Provost at Sprauve.
“This year, we had eight outstanding finalists – all of whom exhibit exemplary teaching on a daily basis and are passionate about the children of the Virgin Islands,” Wells said. A committee of district level personnel and educators from our community evaluated each applicant and that was a very tough decision because of the cadre of teachers that were selected this year. Our winner, Mrs. Jeune Provost, is a young vibrant teacher who allows her students to use their imagination and creativity while she encourages them to be problem solvers, to build lasting relationships and to set high expectations for themselves. She is definitely a teacher leader and we are so proud of her accomplishments.”
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