Photo left to right: Chief Academic Officer Sunny Chancy, Superintendent Bobby Pearce, Kerry Adams, SES Principal Nicholas Weaver, Assistant Principal Frankie Harvey
PHOTO BY RHONDA STEVENS
Shadeville’s Kerry Adams Named Wakulla 2018 District Teacher of the Year
December 15, 2017
Kerry Adams of Shadeville Elementary School was announced by Superintendent Bobby Pearce as the 2018 Wakulla County Teacher of the Year on December 15. Currently she teaches math to 5th grade inclusion classes, and has taught all subjects in her 11 years of working with fifth graders.
Shadeville Principal Nicholas Weaver, Assistant Principal Frankie Harvey, plus students and colleagues were on hand to cheer for her as she received flowers, candy and balloons.
Adams will now go on to compete with the other 71 District Teachers of the Year for Regional and then State Teacher of the Year. In July, all school districts’ Teachers of the Year will be honored at the Florida Department of Education-Macy’s sponsored program in Orlando.
Graduating Summa cum Laude from Flagler College, Adams earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and holds the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement.
Concrete evidence of success with her students is in their learning gains on both the state’s mandatory FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) at the end of the year, and on Wakulla School District’s ongoing evaluations using DEA (Discovery Education Assessment).
Says Adams, “The most important life lesson I teach my students is that even though things can be challenging, through struggle and desire, they can improve and achieve their goals.”
The growth her students achieve is especially notable because she works mainly with students whose previous year’s test scores indicate they are struggling in math and/or reading. On a scale of 1 to 5, the state deems FSA scores of Level 1 and Level 2 below grade level, and Levels 3, 4, and 5 on or above grade level.
Adams says, “A specific example would be a particular student from my class last year. This student entered my class with a Level 1 in math and struggled quite a bit with new concepts. I spent a lot of time with him while he corrected problems he missed. At the beginning of the school year he would grow very frustrated and not want to correct his work. He would settle for failure or less than his fullest potential.”
“I, however, would not settle for anything less than what I knew he could achieve. Later in the year I gave him an assignment to correct and I made the comment, ‘I know this is hard and I push you a lot, but one day you’ll think back to now and appreciate this.’ To that he replied, ‘I thank you now, Mrs. Adams, because you’re helping me be better.’ “
Adams adds, “This particular student left my class scoring a Level 3, confident and ready for success in the future.”
Others also attest to Adams’ effective teaching skills. Her peers have twice voted her Teacher of the Month, in January 2012 and in September 2016. In addition, she was recognized by the Florida Department of Education as a “High Impact Teacher” due to her students making learning gains, and she received the “Best and Brightest Scholarship” because of the high rate of her students showing academic growth, plus she had to have high SAT or ACT college entrance exam scores as part of the criteria.
In order to stay current, Adams often attends professional development trainings. For example, she says, “The latest FSA data has shown that the weakest area in math for our students is Geometry. Recent training on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts focused on activities to teach Geometry using cooperative learning and manipulatives. Through the use of these new practices, I hope to further the success and gains of my students in this area.”
Says Shadeville Principal Nicholas Weaver, “Kerry Adams is a dynamic teacher who does so well getting most of her struggling math students to a higher level. She is passionate about making sure her students have the tools to succeed, believing that academic success will boost their confidence in themselves in all areas. She is also an amazing leader around Shadeville.”
As the Grade 5 Team Leader, Adams believes collaboration among colleagues is important. “I work alongside other Team Leaders and Administrators to plan and make decisions for our school. I feel this is one of the most important jobs I have because my team has entrusted me to be their voice and to handle important tasks. It is my responsibility to coordinate field trips, our SAVE (Substance Abuse and Violence Education) Program, graduation, textbooks, and supply orders.
Additional leadership roles she has taken on include Odyssey of the Mind Coach; Co-chair of the SES Spelling Bee; and Safety Patrol Chair where she organizes and runs this program with the 5th grade students.
Adds Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “What a great representative for Wakulla County’s teachers. I have no doubt that Mrs. Adams’ ability to help children learn complex math concepts is intertwined with the high expectations she has for them. They know that she will never give up on them, so they start to see that they can’t give up on themselves. This method will positively affect her students for the rest of their lives.”
School-Level Teachers of the Year were selected by their peers at their schools, and then went on to apply for the district title. An experienced panel of educators scored written packets and rated interviews where all candidates had the same questions asked of them.
The other seven outstanding School-Level Teachers of the Year for 2018 are: LeNita Winkler for Wakulla Pre-K; Kimberly Bartnick for Crawfordville Elementary; Cary Gerrell for Medart Elementary; Cassandra Burnham for Riversink Elementary; Jennifer Thaxton for Riversprings Middle; Nicole Dissmore for Wakulla Middle; and Kristi Keith for Wakulla High School.
These representatives and all Wakulla County teachers will be honored at a celebration on March 26, 8:00 a.m. at Wakulla Middle School. Chief Academic Officer Sunny Chancy and the Instructional Services Department coordinate the Teacher of the Year program and breakfast, which is sponsored this year by Prime Meridian Bank.