East Hartford Teacher Named Connecticut Teacher Of The Year
Connecticut has named its statewide teacher of the year.
Cara Quinn, a sixth-grade teacher at the Sunset Ridge School in East Hartford, was named the 2015 top teacher in Connecticut. Quinn has taught in Connecticut for 11 years–she started as a fourth-grade teacher in Bolton, and for the last nine years she has taught in East Hartford.
Quinn focuses not only on her students academic development, but their personal development as well. She said, “Whether it be committing 26 acts of kindness to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook School tragedy, responding to current event stories by selling loom bracelets for typhoon victims or inviting an ostracized classmate to join them at lunch; when my students see someone in need and are compelled to act, these are my proudest moments.”
Quinn is distinguished among her colleagues in a number of ways, including creating a college immersion program for students with the University of Hartford and organizing an annual career day for students to interact with 30 professionals from the local community.
Gov. Dan Malloy sent his congratulations to Quinn, saying “Congratulations to Mrs. Quinn on being named the 2015 Teacher of the Year. We extend our gratitude to her—and to all our teachers—for the tremendous work they do each day.”
Quinn was picked from a pool of four finalists, 15 semi-finalists and more than 100 district-level teachers of the year.
“The Teacher of the Year Program does not attempt to select the ‘best’ teacher in Connecticut. Rather, it seeks to identify, from among many outstanding educators, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession,” said Susan Pelchat, selection committee chairperson for the Connecticut Teacher of the Year (TOY) Council.
A board of former teachers of the year, as well as educational organizations, businesses professionals and community leaders performed on-site visits, read through candidate applications, conducted interviews and observed the teachers while at work to pick the winner.
“Connecticut’s teachers of the year provide an important voice on educational issues in our state,” said Commissioner Pryor. “They participate in an advisory council at the State Department of Education and, in so doing, they offer an invaluable perspective on statewide education policy and its implementation. We are deeply grateful for their contributions.”
Quinn will now also represent Connecticut for the National Teacher of the Year. The last Connecticut teacher of the year was John F. Mastroianni, a music teacher at West Hartford’s Hall High School. He now teaches at Canton High School and will finish his tenure as teacher of the year on Dec. 31.