Madison's five schools have announced their teachers of the year. They are
- , Margaret Duffy
- , Gina Sloginski
- , Karen Natunan
- , Kathleen Derbyshire
- , Timothy Maseker
Administrators at the last Board of Education explained why each teacher received the honor. Here's some of what was said about this year's Teachers of the Year.
Kathleen Derbyshire, Madison Junior School
Ms. Derbyshire, the orchestra director at multiple schools, organizes all-city concerts, runs the summer arts program, performs outside of school in a Multi-Generational Orchestra, and serves as a valuable role model for students.
She teaches with passion, organization, and elbow grease.
Parents have shared that she goes beyond in many situations to set up a timetable, schedule lessons and after-school groups, and to help parent volunteers. In addition to her organization and work ethic, Derbyshire has written and received several grants andfrequently performs at Madison Education Foundation functions.
One parent said, "I am pleased that my son got involved in the orchestra. Because of the clear expectations, positive reinforcement, and high quality of the pieces that she chooses, he looks to continue his involvement in orchestra in high school."
One music teacher wrote, "Kathleen is the best music teacher in the district without question and continues to strive for excellence without notoriety or recognition." Another teacher wrote, "Kathleen is a gifted teacher who relentlessly pushes her students and her program. When district music cuts were made, Kathleen's response was to give up her preps so that she could travel to the elementary schools to keep the 'feeder' program strong."
Every year, Ms. Derbyshire's students receive countless awards, get involved in multiple music programs because of her role, and are continuously competitive because of her passion for performing arts.
Gina Sloginski, Kings Road School
Third-grade teacher Mrs. Sloginski has worked nine years in Madison and recently obtained her master's degree in administration. She's married to her husband, Eric, and has two boys, Ben and Gavin. She loves fishing and spending time in her lake community.
Parents said she is devoted to her students' academic growth and personal development, goes the extra mile to make parents aware of student progress and concerns. She is described as positive, kind, intelligent, creative and enthusiastic teach who make children love learning.
Colleagues say she creates a happy and safe place to learn, actively listens and allows her students to express themselves creatively so they are comfortable enough to take educational risks.
She is skilled at resolving conflicts, maintaining order and consistently finding the good in every child.
"No one can have a good day, every day, yet working with Gina, one would assume she comes very close to achieving this," one co-worker said.
Karen Natunen, Torey J. Sabatini School
Karen Natunen, in her second year as a first-grade teacher at Torey J. Sabatini School, has been selected as the school's teacher of the year.
It is unusual for teachers to be selected Teacher of the Year in their second year at the school, but Karen Natunen is a person who surprises you.
She has traveled to Peru and South Africa, and these trips and the way Ms. Natunen has chosen such life-expanding experiences reflect her approach to her job. She chooses depth and looks deeply into the needs of her students. She knows every child as an individual. Letters from the parents of her students were written with sincere admiration. Some examples they cited:
Miss Natunen’s classroom is the wonderful balance between active learning and quiet reflection
I adore how Miss Natunen leads her class gracefully and by example. With very little overspeak or noise, she gets the job done, and the kids are grateful for that quiet, effective kindness.
Ms. Natunen is equally as curious and playful about the world around her as her students are.
Ms. Natunen very quietly and meekly goes about being awesome
With as many teachers and children in the classroom, you could imagine it would be chaotic. It is not. She runs a very organized ship and the kids love it.
Natunen, the lead mainstream teacher in an inclusion classroom that has a number of adults, is also a member of the school advisory team.
Timothy Maseker, Madison High School
Mr. Maseker has established himself at Madison High School as an outstanding educator who cares about his students and fellow colleagues. He has been a Business & Technology teacher at Madison High School for the past nine years, making a difference in the lives of countless students. He has taken his experiences from the corporate world and has used them to bring life to the lessons being taught in his Business Education classes.
Maseker is the consummate professional, always looking for opportunities to enrich his students’ experiences and to make his lessons relevant.
He has served as a tremendous role model for students at Madison High School. He is always looking to impress upon his students the values of hard work, professionalism and attention to detail. He has embraced the Madison School District’s mission statement as he inspires and challenges all of his students on a daily basis. Using the mission statement as his guide, he has encouraged his students to be “life-long learners, empowered with the knowledge, skills, and character to shape their futures, realize their dreams and contribute positively to the world.”
Mr. Maseker is a tremendous teacher and ambassador for education. His passion and dedication continually motivates our youth to accomplish great things in their lives.
Margaret Duffy, Central Avenue School
Mrs. Duffy was selected as Central Avenue School's Teacher of the Year after reviewing nominations from fellow Central Avenue School staff members and
Cited in the nominations was Mrs. Duffy's professionalism, positivity, kindness
and enthusiasm. Her lessons are often connected to her students' real life experiences.
Having children of her own in Madison, Mrs. Duffy knows what is going on in the
children’s lives in and out of school. She seems to always know what is going on in her students' daily routines and relates her own, her children's and her students' daily experiences to lessons in her classroom.
For example, if there’s a club soccer game that some of her students are involved in, somehow there’s a connection made to a math or science lesson.
If there’s a holiday concert or play, a connection is made to one of her lessons the following day. Connections between the children’s book clubs and her students personal experiences are part ofthe Literacy Instruction routine.
Children in Mrs. Duffy’s room feel a strong bond between each other and their teacher.
Mrs. Duffy has an understanding of the curricula, designing lessons that motivate, encourage and foster self confidence and positive self esteem. She is committed to providing the appropriate differentiated instruction to her students and she provides extra help regularly before and after school, and during her lunch break. After each mini-lesson or whole class demonstration, Mrs. Duffy carefully assesses her students’ understanding and tailors her individual or small group instruction to their levels. Students gain the confidence and knowledge to succeed in their lessons.
Mrs. Duffy continues her own education in graduate school earning a master's degree with an emphasis in Special Education. She also attends workshops on the latest strategies and innovations in pedagogy and technology infusion into the curricula. Mrs. Duffy applies for grants to help bring the latest technology and literacy materials that support the curricula and her students' needs.
She willingly shares her knowledge with her colleagues, attends PTO
meetings each year, and is often one ofthe first staff members to volunteer for "extra" duties whenever there is a need for additional staff. She chaperones the school play and evening concerts.
The school never tires of seeing Mrs. Duffy’s smiling face at all of its events.