The Rye City School District has selected and honored Carrie Burke and Sharon Straussberg as the 2014 Teachers of the Year! This annual award is presented annually during Superintendent’s Conference Day events in late June. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alvarez congratulated these two highly dedicated and greatly valued faculty members, who were joyfully applauded by their colleagues, administrators, and Board of Education members.
Mrs. Burke, an art teacher at Osborn School, is known for the creativity and inspiration she brings to her classes and for going above and beyond in sharing her passion for art throughout the school community. She is described as being kind, compassionate, thoughtful, creative, patient, and an overall great person. She teaches over 500 students a week and has a genuine desire to help each child find confidence and uniqueness in his/her artwork.
While they create the artistic works that fill Osborn’s hallways year-round, students in Mrs. Burke’s classes also learn about the details behind their projects. This Teacher of the Year sees that her students gain an understanding of the terminology and history associated with their artistic endeavors.
“I, as well as several other members of the Board and Central Administration, recently had the opportunity to see the art created in Mrs. Burke’s classes during Osborn’s Open Art Night,” Dr. Alvarez stated while announcing the award before an audience of staff members. “It comes as no surprise that she coordinated all the fine details of this event, even training students to serve as docents. We were highly impressed by the creativity that each project contained.”
Mrs. Burke has helped out with decorations for events and is always willing to share ideas and materials. Mrs. Burke is also known to stay late and give up her lunch hour, despite having a busy schedule filled with back-to-back classes, in order to help students or provide them with extra time to finish their work.
It is clear to that Mrs. Burke has a positive influence that stays with students far beyond their years at Osborn, and has done a great deal to help the District’s art program flourish.
Mrs. Straussberg has been part of the Midland family for 15 years and has made an incredible impact on her colleagues, her students, and parents. A variety of personal stories and sentiments were conveyed in her many nomination letters and it was evident throughout them all that this faculty member is a role model, a mentor, and a life-changing teacher.
Collectively, staff members, parents, and alumni described this Teacher of the Year as being professional, understanding, organized, dedicated, encouraging, hardworking, friendly, patient, poised, fair, caring, gentle, kind, a great communicator, and an exceptional human being. Mrs. Straussberg is known for being pleasant and smiling, even in difficult situations, during which she has set herself apart as a special teacher who can reach students regardless of their circumstances.
Mrs. Straussberg recognizes when students are struggling and develops strategies to cope with their situations. She sets high expectations for her students and equips them with the tools and skills they need to reach those standards. Her colleagues have commented that this Teacher of the Year seems to know what to do for each child and has a remarkable ability to deeply connect with all of her students.
Dr. Alvarez explained, “She has touched the lives of many children and made a lasting difference in not only their lives, but also in those of their family members.” He then shared anonymous excerpts from letters in which parents and alumni expressed heartfelt gratitute toward Mrs. Straussberg. Dr. Alvarez continued, “Mrs. Straussberg, it is without a doubt that you have had an invaluable impact on the lives of your students.”