December 2014

Celebrating the Profession

Teachers of the Year Inspire Lifelong Learning

CEA President Sheila Cohen joined Connecticut's 2015 TOY semifinalists and finalists at the Bushnell in Hartford.
Front row, left to right are Cohen and 2015 TOY Cara Quinn, East Hartford. Second row, Kristina Kiely, Wallingford; Cheryl Iozzo, Greenwich; Lara Garber, Norwich; finalist Edward White, New Fairfield; Sarah Walkup, District 15; finalist Juliane Givoni, District 9; Sandra Nichols, Glastonbury; and Deborah Sanders, Cromwell. Back row, Mary Nelson, Hamden; Beth Horler, Groton; David Griffith, Ridgefield; and Jennifer Paul, Southington.

Connecticut's 2015 Teacher of the Year praised and thanked her former teachers, Farmington Public School educators, for inspiring her to become an educator, and reminded her colleagues of the important role they play in their students' lives.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 500, including fellow educators, family, and friends gathered at the Connecticut Teacher of the Year celebration at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford on Dec. 2, Cara Quinn delivered inspirational words about the power teachers have to shape and transform the lives of their students. She praised two of her favorite teachers, Miss Campbell, her fourth grade teacher, and Miss Massey, her high school Spanish teacher who attended the ceremony, who were instrumental in her education journey and helped her become who she is today.

"These two teachers inspired me to enter this profession and have provided a lasting example of what good teaching encompasses," she said. "You have my sincere gratitude. The teacher that I am today is largely because of the teachers that I had in you."

Quinn, a sixth-grade teacher at Sunset Ridge Academy in East Hartford, whose students performed musical entertainment at the ceremony, told her colleagues she is proud to represent them.

"It's an incredible honor to stand before you as Connecticut's Teacher of the Year and to be surrounded by so many exceptional educators who share a common vision and drive to do what's best for children," she said.

She reminded her colleagues of what matters most in education.

"You are the most valuable resource in your classroom. Your wisdom and expertise are irreplaceable and immeasurable. You know what matters most to children and what is most important to student success," she said.

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