In recognition of the importance of recruiting and maintaining a faculty of master teachers, Richard Blackwell and his children created two endowed teaching awards. The recipients are selected annually by a committee representative of former Blackwell Award recipients and school faculty who demonstrate teaching excellence in their respective fields while embodying the mission of Providence Day “to inspire in its students a passion for learning, a commitment to personal integrity, and a sense of social responsibility.” Each faculty recipient has positive skills in communication and interaction with their students as well as knowledge in one’s subject area, exhibiting professional and ethical conduct both inside and outside the classroom.
The 2020-21 Blackwell Award for Teaching Merit-Humanities was awarded to Andrea Gowin, Upper School history and social studies teacher. Gowin is credited with infusing technology into the class, developing curriculum and leading student programming, advising the Students of Service organization, redesigning and updating course frameworks for multiple courses, earning the Global Educator Certificate, and traveling in order to enrich the course curriculum with real-world knowledge. Students value her enthusiasm, effort to know them as individuals, and ability to make class interesting by providing a wide variety of resources and class activities. Additionally, Gowin helps organize and execute the annual senior breast cancer awareness luncheon and serves as the Cum Laude chapter’s secretary so PD can recognize the top academic tier of students in the junior and senior classes.
Lower School math teacher Kerrie Hancock received the 2020-21 Blackwell Award for Teaching Merit-Science and Math. Earlier in her 10 years as Lower School’s Math Specialist, Hancock identified a relative weakness in the quantitative reasoning scores of Lower School math students. She then set upon a path to help students develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills by forming a committee to pilot different math programs, observing other schools to view the curriculum in practice, and helping the Lower School adopt its current Math in Focus Singapore Math program which has proven successful for improving math skills across the division. During the school year, Hancock created the remote learning plan for Lower School math and taught math to multiple grade levels of remote learners while simultaneously supporting on-campus students. She also mentors new faculty members and hosts parent sessions to provide snapshots of the Lower School’s outstanding math curriculum.
The Teacher of the Year awards, sponsored annually by the Parents’ Association, go to those who best uphold the school’s mission of inspiring in students a passion for learning both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. While typically awarded to one teacher in each division, this extraordinary year called for a different set of award recipients – all of the PD teachers.
“Each and every day, the Providence Day School faculty bring to the classroom those characteristics that create the spark and drive for exploring and learning,” said Head of School Dr. Glyn Cowlishaw. “From the bottom of our hearts, we sincerely thank you and it is our honor to present the Teacher of the Year Award to each and every one of you – all faculty members in all divisions.”