CRISTINA FOSS TEACHER OF THE YEARFriday, April 27, 2012 By Aubrey Benedict
English department chair Cristina Foss was very shocked and pleased to find out she had been selected by her peers as Granby’s Teacher of the Year for the 2012-2013 school year. Foss has gone through plenty of schooling to get where she is today. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas and her Master’s at the University of Vermont to get her Master’s degree. Foss is currently enrolled at Old Dominion University getting her Doctorate. After having taught at Johnston High School in Austin, Texas, and the University of Vermont, Foss joined the Granby team 10 years ago. Currently, Foss is teaching International Baccalaureate English 11, International Baccalaureate English 12, and the International Baccalaureate course Theory of Knowledge. However, Foss looks back at all the courses she has taught and recollects “I’ve pretty much taught every subject.” This year seems to be the highlight of her teaching career though. Foss and her students recently created films and showed them at a film festival. Foss’ favorite part of teaching is seeing the students interact. Another thing Foss would like to see her students interacting with is new media. “The idea of literacy is changing,” she says. From movies to text pages to even Twitter™, Foss realizes the way society writes and reads today is very different from the way it used to be. Principal Ted Daughtrey appreciates all of Foss’s hard work and input here. “She is truly dedicated to providing all of our students with relevant instruction,” he says, “which will prepare our students for both college and real life.” Foss is greatly appreciated by her peers, her boss, and most importantly her students. As both a classroom teacher and department chair, she strives to develop a high level of rigor and a strong sense of literacy for her students and for the English department. Additionally, she encourages teachers and students to compete on the national level. This ties in with Foss’s belief that graduation requirements need to be higher and that current educational approaches are not satisfactorily meeting the needs of students. At Granby, candidates for Teacher of the Year go through quite an intensive and extensive process. First they are nominated by their peers. Finalists must then submit answers to questions about education and their philosophies as well as their resumes. They are then videotaped and these videos are loaded on to a drive for other teachers to see. Later, their classrooms are open for visitation by every staff member in the building. After that, teachers vote. As a teacher who is exemplary in putting her students first and is exceptional at incorporating technology into her lessons, Cristina Foss is certainly a 21 st century Teacher of the Year.