Cynwyd Elementary School first grade teacher Megan Henry was recently honored in Harrisburg as one of 12 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalists for 2016-17. The Teacher of the Year award, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year (NSTOY), is the top state-level recognition program for teaching excellence.
Finalists participated in several days of events and workshops in Harrisburg last month, highlighted by a formal recognition ceremony presided by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and a visit to the Governor’s mansion.
“Every day, teachers are making a difference in the lives of their students in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Rivera. “The Department of Education applauds this year’s finalists, who represent the commitment and professionalism that so many Pennsylvania educators share.”
Educators were nominated by students, parents, colleagues and members of the community seeking to recognize teachers’ achievements in the classroom and community. Henry's nomination came from one of her former first grade students, Mitchell Collins, who shares a special bond with his teacher and continues to visit Henry’s classroom whenever he has the chance. Collins also attended the recognition ceremony in Hershey where he provided introductory remarks to the audience on behalf of Henry.
Following her nomination, Henry began a rigorous year-long vetting process as members of the PDE and NSTOY evaluated criteria such as personal educational history, professional development, professional philosophy and more. Henry earned high marks for fostering a classroom environment that values collaboration, curiosity and creative expression.
“I feel fortunate to be part of such a wonderful, caring and dedicated school community,” said Henry. “This is not an individual honor; it is a reflection of our amazing team at Cynwyd and our incredible students and parents.”
"The Cynwyd community is very proud of Ms. Henry," said Principal Dr. Dan Martino. "This honor is a testament to her drive and desire to bring out the best in herself, her team, and most importantly, her students. She is someone who is extremely organized, determined and dedicated to her craft. The PDE's recognition of Ms. Henry as a state finalist and recipient of the Keystone Award of Excellence is well-deserved and is a reflection of her passion and commitment to education."
As a finalist, Henry also received the Keystone Award for Excellence and was inducted in to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. The goals of the organization are five-fold: encourage quality education for each individual through quality teaching; recognize the excellence and commitment of professional educators; promote the image of education through public awareness; stimulate the personal and professional growth of members through their participation in workshops or seminars; and mentor young people entering into the educational profession.