Teachers make the world possible

Published 10:12 pm Thursday, March 27, 2014

Most everybody has at least one teacher they can remember who changed his or her life.

Whether that was by inspiring that student to embark on what would eventually become a career, providing the breakthrough for the student to perform a difficult skill, or maybe even just offering kind words and encouragement when they were needed, many millions of teachers have, perhaps more than any other profession, shaped this world as we know it.

I was fortunate to string together a couple dozen good teachers, principals and coaches from kindergarten through college. I can still remember the names of many of them and picture them in my head. Each of them affected me in different ways — some more than others.

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Suffolk Public Schools recently honored its teachers of the year. The citywide teacher of the year — chosen from among the elementary, middle and high school teachers of the year — was Audrey Casazza from King’s Fork Middle School.

Casazza teaches math, a subject with which I had a tumultuous relationship in school. There’s a reason I write for a living.

But, from reporter Matthew Ward’s story about her, it sounds like she makes teaching fun. Besides giving her students cards and cupcakes on their birthdays, she promotes students’ success with her enthusiasm and passion, according to her nomination by King’s Fork Middle School Principal Jennifer Presson.

Other teacher of the year honorees were Northern Shores Elementary School special education teacher Mallorie Jones, the Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She developed a passion for children with special needs because her brother was born with cerebral palsy.

Jo Ann Murray, an English teacher (my personal favorite) from Nansemond River High School, was the High School Teacher of the Year. Her nominator described her as being adapt at making grammar lessons and Shakespeare engaging and interactive.

Suzanna Hodges, another English teacher (go English teachers!) from Nansemond River High School, earned the honor of the Rookie Teacher of the Year. Having graduated from Nansemond River just four years ago, she described her first five months as “tiresome, exhausting, stressful,” but “rewarding” in a news release.

Congratulations to all of these teachers, and all teachers everywhere. You make the world possible.