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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Sharon High School French Teacher Named 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year

SHARON - A Sharon High School foreign language teacher, who told her parents after sitting through her very first French class as an 8th grader that she wanted to teach high school French someday, was recognized today with the state's top honor for educators.

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester today used the occasion of National Teacher Day to name Kathleen M. Turner as the 2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Turner, who resides in East Walpole, is the state's 51st recipient of this award and automatically becomes the state's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program.

"One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the opportunity to recognize excellence in teaching, and I am pleased today on National Teacher Day to honor the incredible educators we have working in classrooms across Massachusetts," said Commissioner Chester. "Massachusetts educators are well represented by Kathleen Turner, who through her leadership and exceptional teaching provides students with a well-rounded education that enriches their lives and prepares them for success beyond high school."

"The teachers that had the greatest impact on my life were the ones whose passion for teaching and learning inspired us to aim high," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I want to thank Kathleen Turner and our teachers across the Commonwealth for the work they do to inspire and equip our young people with the tools they need to succeed."

"Beloved by her students, Kathleen inspires each class to engage in the study of French," said Senator Brian A. Joyce. "Offering a meaningful investigation of French culture, Kathleen helps her students deepen their understanding of their own culture and hone their own reading, writing, grammatical, and mathematical skills. Kathleen is an incredible asset to our community, who exemplifies the Sharon public school system's commitment to excellence."

"Kathleen Turner is an outstanding example of a creative, engaged educator whose influence on students extends beyond the time they spend in her classroom," said Senator James E. Timilty. "She is truly a role model for teachers across the Commonwealth and I offer my sincere congratulations to her for this well-deserved honor."

"This could not have gone to a more deserving teacher," said Representative Louis L. Kafka. "In her years at Sharon High, Kathy has never failed to go above and beyond in her efforts to further enrich her students and their educational endeavors."

"Teachers are our greatest resource, and teachers like Kathleen Turner enrich the lives of children year after year and inspire them to achieve greatness in their lives," said Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chair Maura Banta.

Turner grew up in Northbridge and attended Northbridge High School. After graduating from Harvard College in 1994, Turner was hired as a French teacher at Sharon High School. Since then, Turner has been instrumental in building the school's French program. Turner also regularly takes students to Paris during spring break, plans annual trips to Quebec City, and has established an exchange program with a school in Rouen, France.

Turner's students have demonstrated impressive results on the College Board's AP French exam. In the past six years, over 90 percent of the 123 students from Sharon High who took the exam scored a 3 or higher. According to the College Board, a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam represents the score point that is predicative of college success and college graduation.

"Kathy Turner is an exceptional teacher," said Sharon Public Schools Superintendent Timothy Farmer. "She is highly skilled and she consistently works in the best interest of her students. In addition to her excellence in the classroom, Mademoiselle Turner contributes to the life of Sharon High School by leading foreign exchange trips, serving on a variety of committees, and spearheading the annual orientation for new staff. I have every confidence she will be a terrific ambassador to represent all teachers in our state, and we are very proud of her."

"Kathy's success can be attributed to many personal qualities, including a willingness to reflect on her practice, to seek out and welcome feedback from colleagues and students, to demonstrate empathy and compassion, and to work tirelessly," wrote Sharon High School Principal Jose Libano in his letter of recommendation. "Any visit to her classroom is proof that she fosters an enriching, student-centered environment where everyone present has the opportunity to immerse themselves in the French culture, to practice language acquisition, to select from multiple learning paths, and to find and reach their potential."

The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Program is administered by the Patrick-Murray Administration in partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets. The program annually recognizes excellence in teaching across the Commonwealth by selecting a teacher who exemplifies the dedication, commitment and positive contributions of educators statewide. In addition to sponsoring a June awards ceremony with other outstanding educators, Hannaford Supermarkets provides a $3,000 grant to the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.

"Hannaford Supermarkets is thrilled to recognize our community's outstanding educators through the 2012-13 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Program. All of us at Hannaford congratulate Ms. Turner on her tremendous accomplishment," said Hannaford Supermarkets Community Relations Specialist Molly Tarleton. "Hannaford strongly believes in supporting programs that benefit the health, education and wellness of our young people. We hope that the grant from Hannaford Supermarkets will assist in furthering opportunities for students in Ms. Turner's classroom."

The selection process for the 2012-2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year began last fall with a call for nominations. An initial review of each nominated teacher's written application led to the selection of semifinalists, who then submitted additional supporting material. Six finalists were chosen and interviewed by an independent review panel of experts, including past Massachusetts Teachers of the Year. That panel then recommended one finalist to be named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year by Commissioner Chester.

The other five Teacher of the Year finalists for this year's award are: Scott Balicki, a Chemistry teacher at Boston Latin School in Boston; Maureen Knowlton, a Special Education teacher at Millis Middle School in Millis; Paula Plock, an Elementary Education teacher at Williamstown Elementary School in Williamstown; John Scopelleti, an English teacher at South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School in Hanover; and Alison Spade, an Elementary Education teacher at Boston Renaissance Charter Public School in Boston.

In addition to being named the 2012-2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year on May 8th, Turner will join other outstanding educators, including the Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, the Milken Family Foundation Award winner for Massachusetts, the finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and Teacher of the Year finalists and semifinalists, to be honored at an awards ceremony on June 18, 2012.



Last Updated: May 8, 2012
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