MH Names Top Educators

Shreyas Agnihotri, Copy Editor

Every year, teachers, students, and parents can nominate teachers and educational professionals they believe are deserving of recognition. These nominees’ names are then provided to a committee who selects the annual Educational Specialist of the Year award and Teacher of the Year Award. Though there are many amazing inspirational teachers and specialists to choose from, only one amazing professional can ultimately win each award. For the 2015-2016 school year, the outstanding specialist is guidance counselor Mrs. Sue Young, and our outstanding teacher is Mrs. Santana. Congratulations to both of them for this prestigious recognition!

Mrs. Young is regarded by administrators as a patient, understanding, and inspirational educational specialist, making her a truly remarkable individual in the Guidance Department and school as a whole. As the AVID 11 counselor, Mrs. Young is supportive in guiding her students to set realistic goals and transition to challenging coursework. She is also instrumental in the college process for her students, and is communicative and reliable. In the school, she coordinates numerous Guidance Department programs, such as NCAA Night, and takes an active role in the school’s bullying-prevention initiatives. As the Guidance Department liaison to the Child Study Team, Mrs. Young also acts as a true champion of special education students. The assistance Mrs. Young provides to so many students and her efforts in fostering a truly positive school atmosphere make her a notable and recognition-worthy specialist.

Mrs. Young’s goal is to simply do the best job possible. “You don’t ever do a job to get an accolade,” she said. “This is just what I love to do and it was never anything I thought I’d get recognized for.” Part of what makes Mrs. Young so successful is her recognition of the fact that “every student is unique.” She always tries to shed a positive light on every student’s situation. One of the most important lessons she has learned over her years in the Guidance Department is to “always be able to collaborate with colleagues because someone always has a new perspective.” It is this open-mindedness and dedication to her job that make Mrs. Young so valuable to us at Morris Hills.

Mrs. Santana was recognized this year for her outstanding teaching as well as her commitment to her students and school activities. In addition to teaching Spanish 3 and Spanish 4, Mrs. Santana contributes to Morris Hills as a translator for the Child Study Team, Consulting Teacher of the World Language department, and member of the Articulation Committee. She is more than just an instructor to her students; Mrs. Santana promotes a diverse and creative learning environment while meeting the needs of individual students and her parents. Outside of the classroom, her involvement in various initiatives in the World Language Department help Mrs. Santana contribute to and shape the culture of the school. Morris Hills administrators recognize her as a mentor and a person of “sincere devotion” to teaching and the school.

As expected, Mrs. Santana was ecstatic to receive such a prestigious award. She said, “I was very excited and surprised. When they were describing the teacher on the announcements, I immediately thought of my colleagues in the department because they are all capable teachers deserving of the award.” Despite her humble attitude, Mrs. Santana is truly an impactful teacher, guided by a philosophy of treating her students in the same way she would want her own children to be treated. Mrs. Santana also provided some advice for any new teachers, both inside and outside of her department: “Leave all your problems aside and focus on helping the students. Come to school with a smile and your best effort, and that’s how you can help the kids and make an impact on them.” Both her students and Morris Hills as a whole are certainly lucky to have a teacher with such a positive perspective and work ethic.