GHS teacher vying for top state honor

Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown

One of Greenwich’s own could be named the next Connecticut Teacher of the Year on Oct. 8 after being chosen as a semifinalist in the competition.

Greenwich High School English and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher Melissa “Missy” Macchio Brown has been selected as a semifinalist in the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year program. As one of the 15 semifinalists, Ms. Brown is meeting with members of the selection committee in Hartford today, Sept. 19, for an interview and will give a brief presentation on a pre-assigned topic.

After selecting the finalists in the next stage of the process, the state committee is then scheduled to announce the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year in October.

Superintendent of Schools  William McKersie said, “We are thrilled for Ms. Brown. She exemplifies all that is good about our schools: Dedication to excellence for all students, commitment to personalizing learning, and seriousness about helping students make wise choices. I know her AVID students are dancing a jig today in her honor.”

Greenwich High School Headmaster Chris Winters added, “Missy is a professional who gives voice to the passion and intellectual demands of teaching. She acts from a core belief that through powerful, supportive relationships students learn and grow.”

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year Program is designed to recognize and honor the contributions of the state’s classroom teachers. The program does not attempt to select the “best” teacher, but rather identifies, from among the many outstanding teachers of the year, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession. The process by which the Connecticut Teacher of the Year is selected consists of three stages.

Ms. Brown was one of the six teachers selected and honored by the Greenwich Distinguished Teachers Awards Committee, Inc. (DTAC). The Greenwich DTAC, a nonprofit organization, was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate excellence among the dedicated teaching staff of the Greenwich Public Schools.

Dr. McKersie is subsequently charged with selecting from among the six distinguished teachers annually, the one teacher that will represent Greenwich in the Connecticut Teacher of the Year program. In May, Dr. McKersie reviewed the nomination packets submitted for each of the Distinguished Teachers, spent time in each of their classrooms, debriefed the observations with each teacher and with their principal, and reviewed essays submitted as part of the selection process. In June, Dr. McKersie announced Ms. Brown as the Greenwich representative for the state’s contest.

Ms. Brown is the first AVID teacher at Greenwich High School. Initially funded and continuously supported by a grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education, AVID is a four-year elective course that prepares students in the ‘academic middle’ for college, often the first in their families to attend. Ms. Brown has acted as teacher and mentor for the first cohort of AVID students at GHS. Now, four years later, these 16 students are all heading to college and have received $330,000 in merit-based scholarships.

A teacher at GHS for nine years, Ms. Brown is also Cantor House’s first assistant dean, a position introduced to the high school in 2011.

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