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Our '23 Teacher of the Year

Our '23 Teacher of the Year

Pine Tree Elementary Multilingual Learner Teacher Sarah Valentin is our 2023 Teacher of the Year. Scroll down to see photos from the moment Sarah was announced as Teacher of the Year to her colleagues at the Avon Schools Back-to-School Celebration, read a special message delivered at that event by Pine Tree Assistant Principal Jennifer McCann Thomas, and watch a video featuring Sarah and the 10 additional men and women honored as Teachers of the Year at their respective schools.

Don't miss hearing from Sarah in the first episode of season 4 of the Orioles In-The-Know podcast. Listen and subscribe here.

Congratulations, Sarah!

A message from Pine Tree Elementary Assistant Principal Jennifer McCann Thomas

I am so extremely proud and excited to be right here celebrating Sarah Valentin, both Pine Tree’s and the district’s Teacher of the Year. 

When I think about the impact that Sarah has on our building, I first think about all that she does. She is an amazing teacher who creates wonderful and collaborative lessons that push all students with active learning and consistently gives them the opportunity to think critically. It is clear that she plans her lessons with her students in mind, thinking about what they like, how they learn best, and what they need to be successful. She is the teammate that supports the team moving forward to meet the needs of all learners in the grade level while making sure everyone feels heard and valued. She asks questions that gives pause for reflection and an opportunity for everyone to speak. Outside of the classroom, Sarah serves on our social committee, our EL Team, she served on ELA Council and as our union rep, and she is our newest member of our leadership team. As a teacher leader within those committees, she also helped facilitate multiple PD sessions last year namely on best serving students using instructional practices that increase academic outcomes for students.

Just when I think about how impressed I am with all that she does and the results she sees in growth and achievement for her students, I think about who she is and I’m even more wowed. I’ve watched her interact with students in such a patient way whether the situation is academic, behavioral, or social. I’ve listened as she talks about her craft and her desire to continue improving so that she can make sure she is the best teacher she can be for each one of her students. I’ve seen the extra work she has put in to continue her own education in order to achieve career goals and support her intrinsic goal of ensuring she is able to provide the best education possible to students who are at various levels of learning or performing academically in English.

Toward the end of the year last year, Sarah interviewed for our ML teacher role. She spoke with so much passion about her students both former and current, about education, and about who she wanted to be as an educator. I later told her that her interview gave me goosebumps.  Because she is what education is all about. When we think about being student-focused and outcome-oriented for student success, it starts with our largest and most valuable resource – our teaching staff. Thank you all for all you do each day, and Sarah, thank you for calling Pine Tree home and sharing your gift with us.