Envision five large screen projection televisions attached to the ceiling displaying your image with an audience of approximately 1,500 educators hanging on your every word. This image was a reality last week at the America’s Choice Conference for two of our own, dayle timmons & Melanie Holtsman, and they handled the attention beautifully! Although, I cannot tell a lie... Melanie may have been mumbling something under her breath about her hair!
Melanie’s large screen debut occurred during the Opening Keynote when Judy Codding unveiled Literacy Navigator. A promotional video taped by Learning in Motion was broadcast to the audience, and included footage from Melanie’s Literacy Navigator group. Also, showcased were our friends from Twin Lakes Academy Elementary. What an excellent way to start this action packed conference!
Coming full circle, dayle’s debut concluded the conference in her Closing Keynote address that brought some in the audience to tears and left the Chets Creek observers beaming with pride—This is an extraordinary teacher we get to work collegially with every day! How lucky are we? She shared her journey as an ESE teacher and literacy coach who had the opportunity to learn and grow in an America’s Choice Cohort 2 school and how that training changed everything!
She even shared a small secret—she was so eager to obtain literacy training that she signed in as a friend, snuck into a training session and stole her very first standards book! You should know that this is sooooo out of character for dayle--she is the most genuine trustworthy responsible teacher I know. Although, I will say, she is also the most passionate, too, and has an insatiable hunger for knowledge! Hence, the “borrowing” of a book that would become her life line to improving classroom instruction. I’m sure she hasn’t ever looked back!
dayle talked about the exhilarating ride of her life as she joined the learning community of pioneers at Chets Creek Elementary. The staff is passionate, fast-paced, and full of energy, and dayle fit right in. In fact, her leadership qualities and early literacy knowledge landed her the role of primary literacy coach. She is among the most revered teachers at our school, and has earned the distinguished award as the 2004 Florida Teacher of the Year. She gives accolades to the America’s Choice School Design for bringing her the platform for this honor, and specifically thanked General John Fryer for bravely bringing this design to Duval County Public Schools in 1999.
As a Chets Creek risk taker, dayle, along with many other learning leaders at CCE, have stepped it up a notch this year. She has learned how to blog in order to communicate with our stakeholders and as a way to have a discussion that encompasses a larger, world-wide audience. She is in the process of archiving a year in the life of kindergarten, including how a high performing America’s Choice Model School impacts our youngest learners.
She concluded as she addressed trainers and coaches, administrators, and teachers, and urged each of us to never underestimate the work we are doing. To build our legacy. To shape our children's destiny-- our future.
A well deserved standing ovation ensued. After all, she's the queen...