Monarch High School science teacher named 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year

Kristin Donley, a science teacher at Monarch High School in Louisville, was named the 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year in a surprise announcement made by State Education Commissioner Robert Hammond in front of the student body at a school assembly this morning.

Beverly Ingle, president of the Colorado Education Association, was one of several state education leaders and politicians at the assembly to congratulate Donley and remark on the importance of the teaching profession.

“Teachers are the builders of builders,” said Ingle in her speech. “You don’t have any other profession without teachers beginning that chore. We help every child to thrive.”

Ingle called Donley an expert in the art and the science of teaching.

“It is about the passion and the knowledge you have in order to move students forward,” said Ingle. “We want to congratulate Kristin on behalf of our 40,000 members.”

U.S. Congressman Jared Polis also spoke at the assembly, saying he will enter an official statement of congratulations to Donley in the congressional record and will present her with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.

“Your teacher, Ms. Donley, will be representing teachers all across Colorado for the next year, and what a tremendous honor for Monarch High School, for Boulder Valley School District to have that,” said Polis to students at the assembly.

“Ms. Donley is one of the most intelligent and definitely helpful teachers I’ve had in high school,” said Rebecca Richmond, a Monarch student taking her third class with Donley. “Her passion for science and charismatic attitude make learning from her not only captivating, but inspiring.”

“From the moment I met Ms. Donley at the beginning of this year, I knew I was in the right place,” another of Donley’s students, Michael Capitelli, said at the assembly. “It seems like every week we are introduced to new state-of-the-art technology. Ms. Donley wills herself to having the best of what’s available for her students.”

“This award is really all of your award,” Donley said in her remarks to the assembly. “We have the best students we could have and I’m very privileged to work with you. We have amazing staff, and our parents and community are amazing as well, and they support us in every way possible.”

Donley also thanked her high school science teacher for inspiring her, saying, “I hope I have at least a small effect of what he did for me on the students that I teach.”

Donley, an 18-year veteran teacher and executive committee member of the Boulder Valley Education Association, will meet with President Obama at the White House as part of the National Teacher of the Year Program. She will also receive many professional development opportunities, including attendance at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s annual International Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.

The two other finalists for the 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year award are Mary Billings, an 8th grade history teacher at Franklin Middle School in Greeley, and Andrew Giles, a kindergarten teacher at Monaco Elementary School in Commerce City.

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