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Alumna named state Middle School Teacher of the Year

Posted by UWSPcps - October 12, 2012 - Academics, Alumni, Education

From the DPI:

In a surprise ceremony at her school, Amy (Mroczenski) Traynor ’98, a mathematics teacher at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire, was named Wisconsin’s Middle School Teacher of the Year for the 2012-13 school year.

State Superintendent Tony Evers made the announcement during an all-school assembly. As part of the Teacher of the Year honor, Traynor will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

“The quality of the educators in our schools is vital to student success,” Evers said. “Teachers who receive this award are recognized by their peers, students, and parents as caring, committed educators. They represent quality educators who make a difference every day for our students.”

“The Teacher of the Year program recognizes educators who strive to help every student succeed,” said U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, who co-sponsors the program through his educational foundation. “Not only are these educators active in their classrooms and schools, they work to improve the profession and contribute to their communities.”

Traynor, a National Board Certified Teacher, is dedicated to fostering positive relationships with her students believing they perform better academically when in a safe, comfortable environment where they feel valued. “I create a classroom environment where students feel free to take educational risks, have thought provoking conversations, and think critically. I want students to feel comfortable asking questions, to never doubt their ability to learn, and that it is OK to make mistakes.”

Traynor is responsible for starting Where Everybody Belongs (WEB), an elementary to middle school transition program at DeLong. Eighth-grade students are nominated by teachers to become WEB leaders. WEB leaders welcome sixth-graders at the beginning of the school year and continue working with them over the course of their first year in middle school. The program helps new students and their parents feel more comfortable entering middle school and helps new students form friendships. It also gives older students the opportunity to become mentors and develop leadership skills. It is a powerful program that builds a positive school environment for everyone.

Traynor has also developed a program aimed at parents that gives them an opportunity to boost their own math skills. “Math Knight” invites parents to learn more about the school’s math curriculum and how they can help with math homework. Parents explore various math websites for tips on homework and learn about math activities they can do at home with their children. The program has been very successful building relationships with families.

WEAC member Michael Miller, a special education teacher and colleague, also considers Traynor to be a model educator. “She has demonstrated to me time and again that she is an exceptional communicator and gifted teacher.” He admires her dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the typical duties of a teacher, giving mention to her mentoring students even through their high school careers.

In addition to Traynor’s commitment to excellence in teaching, she is also involved in numerous other programs and activities outside of the classroom. She recently helped organize a first-ever students’ educational trip to Costa Rica focusing on science, community service, and cultural awareness. She also coordinates DeLong’s service-learning greenhouse project where students learn to grow and care for plants and then later deliver them to local nursing homes. Traynor is active in her church community serving as a Sunday school teacher where she enjoys working with students, some present and former DeLong students, and getting a broader perspective of her students’ lives outside of school.

Traynor holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s of education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Evers will recognize Traynor as the Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year during his State of Education address Sept. 20 in Madison. To read more about the announcement from the DPI, click here.

For a pdf of the announcement from the DPI, click here.

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