Traditionally, the Westport Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year is announced with a flourish, at the all-staff opening convocation.
He or she is cited — along with runner-up colleagues — for a wonderful combination of dedication, innovation, passion, compassion, pride and professionalism.
This year, the district is announcing the honor early. It goes to — literally — the entire staff.
Director of human resources and general administration John Bayers says:
As we think about starting the process again for selecting Westport’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, the selection committee and I feel this is not the time to shine a special light on one educator in the district. Instead, we feel that every teacher in the Westport Public Schools deserves acknowledgement for their profound efforts during the school closure period.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the district will award all teachers the distinction of “Westport’s 2021 Teachers of the Year.” This award will recognize the accomplishments of our certified staff in supporting our students, families and colleagues during the COVID-19 crisis. It is a celebration of the innovative approaches and resilience of character demonstrated by every teacher, library media specialist, counselor, psychologist, speech pathologist and social worker.
In addition to the tremendous work of our certified teachers during the COVID-19 crisis, we also wish to recognize the tireless efforts of our non-certified staff. The custodians, secretaries, maintainers, nurses, health assistants, technology staff, paraprofessionals, building substitutes, athletic trainers, coaches, co-curricular activity/club advisors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, support supervisors, security guards, school lunch staff and interns are at the heart of what makes our distance learning and community outreach programs successful. To that end, we would like to honor each of these colleagues as recipients of “Westport’s 2021 Heart Award – Supporting a Stronger Community.”
The district is collecting stories about the creative, supportive ways in which staff members have responded during the pandemic. They’ll be shared at the opening convocation, in place of the speech typically given by the Teacher of the Year.
It’s a great idea. But it might take this year’s honorees a while to see this story about them.
Right now, they’re too busy working.