Lee Schools names Valerie Donovan new teacher of the year
Fifth grade teacher Valerie Donovan was surprised by Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins this week with the 2020 New Teacher of the Year Award. Donovan teaches language arts at Rayma C. Page Elementary School.
“I am honored to be part of a team who supports each other immensely and takes the time to recognize first year teachers,” Donovan says. “I am so grateful and proud to be part of Lee County Schools!”
After interning for a year at Rayma C. Page, Donovan made her mark this year as a full-time teacher. She created ELA Escape Rooms that allow her students to journey through the standards in a fun, yet meaningful way. She exposed all her students to quarterly Novel studies and differentiated the lessons and tasks to meet the needs of all learners. The 5th grade “Lunch Bunch Reading Club” was her most popular innovation. “While other teachers look forward to lunch away from the students, she invites students to bring their lunch to her classroom to quietly read while eating their lunch,” assistant principal Theresa Bulanda says. “5th grade students rarely want to give up their social time at lunch, but it became so popular that she had to create a schedule in order to accommodate all interested students.”
The Lee County New Teacher of the Year program recognizes newly certified personnel for the significant contributions they make to their school and the School District of Lee County. First year teachers were nominated by their administrators, a selection committee picked six finalists, and then interviewed them to choose the second annual award winner.
“The division of human resources wants to positively highlight the teaching profession,” says chief human resource officer Dr. Angela Pruitt. “Since it is a critically important time to hire great teachers for our children, we want to shine a light on a deserving beginning teacher to assist with recruitment and retention into the field of education.”
Donovan was surprised during a staff meeting with the teachers and Principal at her school. Her colleagues immediately cheered and congratulated her.
“Valerie was a strong student while at FSW, and she brought an enthusiasm for teaching, a love for student engagement, and a passion for inspiring students that made her a joy for all of us at FSW to have in class, says Joyce Rollins, Interim Dean at FSW’s School of Education. “We are so proud of Valerie and grateful to the School District for recognizing her efforts.”