WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Schools Foundation presented the 2021 Williams Excellence in Teaching Awards on May 27 at the District Staff Recognition meeting.
This year the Wilmington Schools Foundation recognized a teacher from each building. Each teacher received a certificate and $200 to spend in their classroom.
The Williams Award was established in 1996 by the WHS Class of 1945. It honors the memory of two devoted teachers, Woodrow and Esther Williams, who dedicated their professional lives to excellence in education. The awards are presented each year to teachers who reflect the enthusiasm, dedication, preparation, and inspiration the Williams exhibited.
This year’s award winners are: Jessica Shelton, WHS science teacher; Jessica Steele, seventh-grade Intervention Specialist at WMS; Katie Licht, MH teacher at Denver Place Elementary; and Beth Young, second-grade teacher at Holmes Elementary.
Here is what each building principal had to say:
• Jessica Shelton cares deeply about all the students at WHS and is always building connections and going above and beyond for students,. Mrs. Shelton is always willing to help out wherever needed. She plans science lessons that are engaging, using hands-on strategies and concrete examples. She is always checking in to see how students are doing, not only in her class, but outside of the classroom.
Jessica Shelton has taken on many extra responsibilities, including student council co-advisor and is a member of our building leadership team. She helps with many events during homecoming week and other events throughout the school year. We are so fortunate to have Jessica Shelton on our team at WHS!
• Katie Licht is currently the MH Teacher at Denver Place Elementary. Katie works hard on a daily basis to provide the students with the love and academics they need. She goes over and beyond to make a difference in her students’ life daily. When the students walk into her classroom they know they are safe and cared for. Over the past few years she has also become a leader in the building by being a member of BLT, DLT and a trainer for multiple initiatives in the district.
Katie is a strong leader and educator in the building. Denver would not be the same without her.
• Jessica Steele shows a clear passion for all students and her colleagues. She has taken on leadership roles with the staff through leading different professional development sessions and being an active part of our Building Leadership Team. She is always available to work through challenges involving staff and seeks to find solutions for issues. While her interactions with the staff are impressive, her focus is 100% with the students.
Jessica thrives in building relationships with students. She truly cares about each and every one of them. She continuously strives to meet the needs of all students whether it is with academics or providing a safe place to discuss something occurring in their lives. She is accessible to all students and staff and WMS is fortunate to have such a positive role model and influence.
• Beth Young is a second-grade teacher at Holmes Elementary who is dedicated to growing the whole child. Mrs. Young’s classroom is centered around fostering relationships. She uses restorative community building circles to foster the relationships between the teacher and the students as well as relationships between each other. Mrs. Young also presents social scenarios for students to problem solve through as a class which is a lifelong skill.
Along with the ability to build strong relationships and teach problem solving skills, Mrs. Young has a strong passion for high expectations in her areas of expertise (Math, Social Studies and Science). She goes above and beyond to deliver instruction in ways to reach all students. Mrs. Young has created videos of her math instruction which allows students to view the instruction multiple times after lessons are taught or even if they are absent which allows students to never miss a beat. Lastly, Mrs. Young’s class is in for a treat everyday as they have fun while in their learning environment through experiments, discussions of would you rather. Mrs. Young gives her all every single day to every single child and allows them to grow not only academically but also socially and emotionally.