Two Central Bucks School District teachers, Central Bucks High School West’s Leanne Jarossy and Central Bucks High School South’s Will Melvin, are among the 12 finalists in the 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year program.
The Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Program recognizes excellence in teaching by honoring K-12 teachers in public education who have made outstanding academic contributions to Pennsylvania’s school-aged children.
Both Jarossy, a math teacher, and Melvin, a CB South English teacher, who have spent 13 and 11 years in CBSD respectively, were humbled by the recognition, and noted that they are surrounded by amazing teachers each day in Central Bucks.
“To be recognized as a leader among them is quite an honor,” Jarossy said, “The outpouring of support and kind words from my colleagues and the community has been an award in and of itself.”
“It’s been embarrassing really – humbling, but embarrassing,” Melvin said, “There are better teachers than me right here at CB South.”
“My wife teaches in the district, she should be teacher of the year – she teaches first grade at Warwick and talk about getting stuff done – she and her fellow elementary teachers are laying the foundation,” Melvin noted.
Jarossy noted the critical work that all teachers share in common, no matter the grade level. “Although we all teach very different things K-12, I believe we all need to be teaching communication, kindness, collaboration, and perseverance,” she said, “From first grade reading to 12th grade math, we can bring these future ready skills into our classrooms.”
Through the Teacher of the Year program, school districts are encouraged to acknowledge the efforts of teachers in their community who have worked to achieve excellence in the classroom by nominating an outstanding educator. Both Jarossy and Melvin were honored by their building principals.
“Leanne is a selfless leader that epitomizes all the qualities of a great teacher by focusing on each and every student and their individual needs,” CB West Principal Tim Donovan said. “Her students admire and respect her, and their academic growth and performance is an indicator of the impact Leanne has on them.”
CB South Principal Jason Bucher echoed similar sentiments when describing Melvin’s impact in the classroom. “As a result of Mr. Melvin’s laser focus on student growth, he is preparing students for their future regardless of whether they enter a post-secondary institution or the workforce,” he said. “In addition to the academic realm that Mr. Melvin is preparing his learners for, he is also modeling and providing students with the opportunity to develop skills critical for being a responsible citizen.”
“Mr. Melvin exemplifies what it means to be a caring, compassionate, and hard-working professional,” Mr. Bucher added.
Both educators are completing the final steps in the competition, participating in interviews and submitting a recorded lesson that exhibits effective instructional strategies.
In the meantime, Melvin has viewed this entire experience as a gift of sorts. “It’s been interesting to reflect on our practice, because that’s been a big part of the application process, thinking about how you are as a teacher – you don’t get often get a chance to do that with all that we do, I think we’re always chasing our tails, trying to do what’s best for our students,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about what I value, what I think is important - at its heart, education binds people together.”
“Educators accomplish this goal by forging relationships with students through mentoring and community building and by providing authentic learning opportunities that are windows to other worlds wherein students innovate, create, and explore passions,” Melvin added.