Post Best Banquet
|Born to teach:|
|Teacher of the Year says it's a 'calling'|
|Published Tuesday, June 26, 2012|
Shanna Rae, a teacher and math facilitator at Billingsville Elementary School, is determined to prove that all children have the innate ability and capacity to learn. That determination earned her the title of Teacher of the Year from The Charlotte Post Foundation.
While she has learned some things along the way in her past decade of teaching, she said that passion is the driving force behind her work. "You have people that were born to be LeBron James, born to be Michael Jordan, we glamorize it. Because their celebrities and people that make big money they are people we think highly of, but I believe teachers are in the same category," she said. "It's part of who we are, and you really can't see yourself doing anything other than working with children or for the good of children."
Billingsville is a struggling school. For the 2010-2011 school year, total proficiency composite scores for reading and math from grades 3-5 was about 50 percent with high growth. Most of the children were on free and reduced lunch, and it had the largest homeless population in the district.
Rae became the math facilitator as part of reform efforts to improve instructional planning and increase student achievement. Previously, she made history at Billingsville - over 90 percent of her fifth grade students passed their end of grade math assessment.
But her aspirations are even higher.
"I was only able to reach so many students in my classroom," Rae said. "Because you feel like you have the ability to reach any student the challenge is being held to just working with 20 students. Now being a facilitator, I'm now able to work with over 500 students and get my message out about promoting and teaching math instead of being limited to working with just students in my classroom."
As the math facilitator for K-5, she has planning meetings and discussions on lesson plans with teachers and she is also able to still go into classroom and model how to teach lessons if that's needed. "The entire building is now my classroom," she said. "I feel like I've been able to reach and give my two cents on what math is to all of those students."
Billingsville Principal Arlene Harris encouraged Rae to become the math facilitator.
"I knew she could lead the school to be successful in math in a way that we have never been before," she wrote in an emailed response to a request for comment. "She believes that all students in all grade levels can achieve high levels of success in math. She knew we had to change the way we taught math and she was the perfect person to lead this reform. She could have gone to other schools, but she wanted to be part of the Billingsville Reform and she wanted to show that a child's ZIP code should not determine his or her academic success."
Dianne Burke, a teacher mentor at Billingsville, said the math scores are still preliminary, but it seems like they've made significant progress.
"I do not know what Billingsville would do without her," she said. "If it was not for her guiding our math instruction we would not have made the phenomenal growth that we've made in math this year, but because of the phenomenal growth we made in math it made our entire school achieve high growth this year. The teachers work very hard, but it is under her leadership and direction for math facilitator that we reached this lofty goal this year."
Assistant Principal Michelle Givens added: "At one point in time, she struggled with math herself and she made it become something she was good at so she made it her strength, and she just believes that there is a way for the kids to learn. They may not learn it the same way or the same day, but she believes that there is a way, and she's just adamant about finding a way."
Rae said she wanted to be a teacher ever since she played school as a child.
"So I always had it in me I believe to be a teacher, but pretty much I knew when I graduated from high school I realized that me going into college my first year I wasn't ready for college," she said. " I made a conscious decision to enroll in an elementary education program to make sure that kids after me were prepared and ready for school."
Still, Rae said that there was one high school teacher, who made all the difference.
"I was a young mom. I remember one teacher. I overheard him talking to my sister. He said to my sister oh this is the end of your sisters world, and I just remember running away after hearing that, and Ms. Nightingale my ninth grade global studies teacher she just held me real tight and she said this is not the end of your world. What you do after today determines what will happen in the future, and she said this is the beginning."
She added: "And the end of the story is my husband and I are still together."
Rae is a wife and mother of four sons: Tremaine, named after his father, Trameek, Travail, and Tremyr.
"She's wonderful at what she does," said her husband, Tremaine Rae. "And any challenge that's placed in front of her she's always able to accomplish her goals and exceed expectations that are placed on her plate so she is a wonderful person, and she's passionate and she's driven at everything that she does so I'm proud of her."
In 2001, Rae received a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Sunny College in Brockport, N.Y. In 2004, she received a master's degree from Sunny in special education. She has a certification in leadership from Wingate University.
She worked in Rochester City School District for two years, then moved to Charlotte for better opportunities. For the past eight years, she has taught at Billingsville.
Rae said that experience taught her to look at students' individual needs. "Once I started teaching students and not lessons that's when I became an effective teacher," she said.
|We achieved high growth because of our math scores. We achieved high math scores because of Shanna Rae!|
|Posted on September 15, 2012|
|I know personally that she is an excellent well rounded teacher. Because she is my daughter|
|Posted on July 8, 2012|
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