As president of the Yarmouth Education Association it is my distinct honor to announce that the 2014-15 Educator of the Year Award will go to a member of the Frank Harrison Middle School faculty.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to make these announcements and, not only is it an honor, it is a distinct joy for me to do so. I am fortunate to work with a wealth of gifted colleagues in this district, any number of whom would be an apt standard bearer for the excellence that this award represents. This year’s recipient certainly qualifies as such a person.
There was once a poster hanging in the guidance office that depicted birds singing in a tree with a caption that said, “Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.” This metaphor always struck me because, as I’ve oft noted to my students, there must have been a time just before our birth, when an announcement was made. The proclamation was something to the effect that, “Whomever would like some talent (singing, dancing, sculpture etc.) come forth and receive thy gift.” I’m quite certain that I must have remained seated and quipped, “No, thanks, I’m good!” So, now when I go to a school play or concert, or attend an art exhibition, or witness the myriad of talent manifested in our students, I really regret the decision not to get me some of that too.
One day during a class when I was lamenting my total lack of artistic acumen and how I didn’t even know the difference between a g clef and a middle-C, a student asked, “Biskup, did you ever try to understand the difference?” The height of irony was evidenced when another student chided, “Maybe you just need a good teacher.”
This actually caused me to think about my colleagues whose work with students is made visible via a public performance. From the point of view of someone who’s never had his students take an AP Physics exam in front of hundreds of onlookers, the notion of an audience seems a very scary proposition indeed.
Today’s recipient produces work that is on constant public display. This educator has the opportunity to impact and inspire virtually every student at HMS and does so with the aplomb and skill of a consummate professional. Students who walk into this teacher’s classroom may do so with a certain degree of trepidation, but leave with a joy and confidence that is borne from achieving something previously thought to be impossible. How one transforms a cacophony of sound into a melodic symphony is a question that certainly escapes my ability to ascertain. Just as we have a myriad of visual art on display throughout this district, we have the performing arts in the air. Each and every student who interacts with this educator is imbued with the passion for the arts, her enthusiasm is infectious and her love of teaching and her students is palpable.
Allow me to close with a quote from Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song”. Who better to bring that song to fruition than this year’s awardee?
It is with great delight that I announce the 2014-15 Educator of the Year. This year’s recipient is Kimberly Grover.