Independence Teacher Rachael Wilcox Selected as a Teacher of the Year Finalist

Posted on 08/27/2019
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Again this year, a Francis Howell School District educator has been selected as a Missouri Teacher of the Year Finalist by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Seven educators from around the state were named as Finalists, and Independence Elementary first-grade teacher Rachael Wilcox was among those selected. Finalists are eligible for consideration as the Missouri Teacher of the Year.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized as a Finalist for Missouri Teacher of the Year. One of the biggest honors this experience has provided me is the ability to advocate for the needs of our students. I have been able to discuss the importance of educating the whole child and how we can weave character education, social emotional learning, and soft skills across all areas in our classrooms,” said Wilcox. “I love providing examples of how lives have been changed by investing in relationships. Every relationship with my students will stand the test of time because the very nature of positive relationships extends beyond the school year and has a lasting impact on the heart.”

Wilcox was named the 2019 Francis Howell School District Teacher of the Year and has taught at Independence for the past 11 years. Her passion for education and building relationships with students is evident to those who have seen her in action. Independence Principal Emily Pavia has observed how Wilcox inspires students both personally and academically. “At Independence, we strive to make a difference in the lives of children every day, and Rachael’s positive impact is felt by her students, staff, and parents,” said Pavia. “Her use of innovative instructional strategies and forging meaningful relationships with students and families demonstrates her commitment to the success of every student in her classroom.”

The DESE Teacher of the Year program spotlights the positive impact teachers have on their students. School districts throughout the state submitted nominations for the award, and a panel appointed by DESE selected the Finalists from among 35 regional teachers of the year. A committee comprised of teachers, business leaders, and school administrators will choose the Missouri Teacher of the Year following interviews with each Finalist on Sept. 9. The winner, Finalists, and Regional Teachers of the Year will all be honored at a banquet in Jefferson City on Oct. 21. The new Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for the 2020 National Teacher of the Year. The current Missouri Teacher of the Year is Shelly Parks, an English Language Arts teacher at Francis Howell North High School.

View the full list of Missouri Teacher of the Year Finalists on DESE’s website.

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