New Teacher of the Year Benjamin Taylor: Meridian Technical Charter High School
Engineering and Technology Education
I came from industry, doing television production, web, and graphic design. I moved into teaching because I thought it would be easy...lol...it wasn't. It was quite the welcome challenge.
One of my best practices is to regularly talk to, ask advice of, and trust your fellow teacher peers. They have been teaching for years and know quite a bit. Realize you are not an island, all the teachers in the school should be working together to create well rounded students, ready to become prosperous contributing citizens. It really does take a village.
Teacher of the Year Stephanie Wheeler: West Ada School District
I grew up in Rupert, Idaho and graduated from Minico High School in 1985. I attended the University of Idaho, receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Business Education in 1989 and my Master of Education in Business Ed. in 1990. Following college, I taught business and marketing at Wood River High School in Hailey for a year, then moved to Boise and worked at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for 9 years in the finance department. After leaving St. Al’s in 2000, I spent a few years as an adjunct instructor for Treasure Valley Community College teaching business classes at their Caldwell Center. When my youngest started kindergarten I decided it was time to get back to teaching high school, and I was lucky enough to get a job at Meridian High School in 2005. This will be my 15th year at Meridian, and in addition to my business classes I also teach a couple of introductory computer science classes. I have been married for 26 years, and we have two daughters and a son-in-law.
A “best practice” I believe in is making sure students know why what they are learning is relevant to their future and to the workplace. Helping students make those connections is why I teach CTE.
Administrator of the YearStaci Low: West Ada School District
I was born and raised in Emmett, Idaho where I graduated from high school in 1988. I then attended the University of Idaho and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Education in 1993 and started teaching Business Education at Meridian High School. I taught at Meridian High School for 2 years and then relocated to Hagerman High School and taught Business Education for 4 years. During my teaching career in the Hagerman School District I completed a Master’s in Educational Administration. I then returned to the West Ada School District (formerly known as Meridian) to start my career in administration. Since 1999, I have been an Assistant Principal for 10 years and then an administrator at the district level. My current title is the Director of Career-Technical Education for the district. I will be starting my 10th year overseeing this program which is the largest in the state of Idaho. My husband, Nathan, is an Agriculture instructor and we have a 12-year-old son.
A couple of “best practices” that I believe are essential to any successful CTE classroom is setting the tone of the classroom from day one. Let the students know how excited you are for them to be in your classroom and what kind of opportunities the CTE pathway will create for them. “Engage and Inspire!”