Providence Day School has recognized an Upper, Middle and Lower School faculty member with its annual Teacher of the Year awards. The school also has recognized two faculty members with Blackwell Awards for Teaching Merit — one in Humanities and one in Math and Science.
The Teacher of the Year awards, sponsored 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.
The Blackwell Award for Teaching Merit, established as a permanently endowed fund with a gift from the Blackwell family, honor teachers who have significant impact on the lives of their students, who demonstrate positive skills in communication and interaction with their students while also exhibiting professional and ethical conduct both inside and outside the classroom.
The 2015-16 winners are Jim Bledsoe (Upper School), Bonnie Wright (Middle School), Dawn Osborn (Lower School), Katie Carmichael (Blackwell Award for Humanities) and Kim Alix (Blackwell Award for Math and Science).
The winners were recognized during division-specific events in late May/early June, as well as at the yearend facutly and staff luncheon June 2.
Upper School Teacher of the Year
Science teacher Jim Bledsoe has a knack for finding ways to work smarter, not harder.
“He is a model teacher for technology integration, constantly considering how the tools best serve the student or teacher,” said Upper School Head Eric Hedinger. “He strives to bring in the newest and best technologies that will make the most significant impact on learning, while knowing what old, tried-and-true methods continue to be the best practices.”
In addition teaching AP Biology, Bledsoe chairs the Upper School Science Department. His colleagues appreciate his willingness to assist in finding solutions to technology issues or student challenges.
“His positive attitude, regardless of the situation, provides a calm environment for all who are privileged to work with him,” said Hedinger.
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Science teacher Bonnie Wright likes to provide an optimum learning experience for students.
Integrating the iPad as a key component of the experience, Wright’s classes have gone completely paperless for coursework and homework. Known for her preparedness, thoroughness and attention to detail, Wright shares her expertise with colleagues as a technology mentor and with her students to help them better organize and to study and understand course materials for discussion and application.
She helped coach the Middle School N.C. Science Olympiad team to fifth place in the regional tournament in April.
“With a passion for always providing a high-quality learning environment and excellent ways to help students learn for the future, Bonnie has demonstrated the qualities of an outstanding teacher of the year,” said Middle School Head Sam Caudill.
Lower School Teacher of the Year
Kindergarten teacher Dawn Osborn is known for her love of children and teaching.
“She embraces new methodologies to improve the child's learning experience,” said Lower School Head Kay Montross. “She seeks professional development to continue to grow her considerable skills and talents and is then generous in sharing her wealth of knowledge and understanding.”
In 2013 Osborn participated in the Teaching Fellows Institute at Charlotte, which recognizes and honors Charlotte’s outstanding teachers and provides opportunities that further develop their leadership and professional expertise.
Back in 1999, Osborn traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy, to study the Reggio Emilia Approach to education, which allows students to guide the curriculum that holds their interest.
“The Reggio background inspires her work … and “she is generous in helping other understand pedagogy,” said Montross.
“Every kindergartener's day is full of new discoveries and I love being a part of that journey with them as their teacher and guide,” said Osborn.
Blackwell Award for Humanities
2nd-grade teacher Katie Carmichael is known for enhancing the lives of students, both in her classroom and beyond.
“Former students hear her cheering at their events and see her attending their performances,” said Lower School Head Kay Montross. “Katie makes it a point to stay connected to them.”
In 2007 Carmichael acquired her Global Educator Certification, a program sponsored by PDS’s Global Education office that offers faculty opportunities to learn about other cultures and then share their experiences with students.
“Broadening my own international experiences allows me to encourage my students to think beyond their own immediate world,” said Carmichael.
She also serves as the PDS volunteer coordinator for Freedom School at PDS, a summer program that provides enrichment for children.
“Katie has worked tirelessly to develop and improve the impact of Freedom School in our community,” said Montross. “The children’s summer experiences are personal for Katie. The impact of her dedication is unrivaled.”
Blackwell Award for Math and Science
Lower School science resource teacher Kim Alix is inspired by her students’ limitless imaginations.
“Each day I am with them inspires me to reach farther beyond myself into their world of endless possibilities,” said Alix.
Alix uses that inspiration to constantly enhance the teaching-learning environment of her classes. Accomplishments include coaching winning N.C. Science Olympiad teams, helping to introduce robotics coding to Lower School, chairing the Lower School Science Committee, helping to facilitate design thinking methodology training sessions for Lower School faculty and leading the Lower School science committee for this year’s Global Week with a focus on sustainability.
Distinctions include being selected for the 2015 Discovery Place Education Studio course, being selected for the 2014 Teaching Fellows Institute and winning the 2009 N.C. Science Teachers Association Distinguished Service in Science Education Award.
“We appreciate her leadership, innovative thinking and influence in Lower School,” said Montross.
Five Providence Day Teachers Receive Annual Awards