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Props to These 6 Teachers Who Rock It All Year

As the school year kicks off, it’s time to thank teachers for what they do for our kids every day. Originally created for Teacher Appreciation Week back in May, this list gives a shout-out to six skillful educators who rock it all year. These six are just a few among millions making a difference, and we thank you all!

1. Danita Taylor

As a teacher and an intervention specialist, Danita guides students in her school’s special ed program with reading, writing, and math support to help them be successful in the traditional classroom setting. She’s also taught nearly 500 staff in her district supportive skills for getting students back on track when they’re upset. Her words (and her actions) are a huge inspiration—for students, for parents, and for other teachers:


2. Nicholas Ferroni

BlindfoldMagazine-NickFerroni-07-1.jpgVoted People Magazine’s Sexiest Teacher Alive, Nicholas Ferroni is way more than a handsome face. He’s a high school history teacher who sidelined a career in acting to pursue what he loves: helping his students learn and succeed.

Sure, he was also named one of Men’s Fitness magazine’s 25 Fittest Men in the World, but he also deserves big kudos for his Teach the Truth campaign to incorporate more minority figures into high school social studies curriculums. Check out these highlights of his work for kids, teachers, and education reform:


3. Laura Merkle

Known on Twitter as @asd_teach, Laura Merkle is an avid advocate for kids with autism. She’s also a special education teacher who got to design her own Community Classroom from scratch, complete with a kitchen area for sensory and life skills activities, a workspace with individualized work stations, and a break room with bean bags, pillows, a tiny tent, and more tools to help her students seek peace when they need a break. Laura blogs about her strategies for teaching kids on the autism spectrum, and she recently shared a great guest post with us about her Top 10 Ed Tools (with lots and lots of pics!).


4. Jessica Minahan

jessica-minahan.jpgA behavior analyst, special educator, and author, Jessica Minahan writes extensively on how teachers and other adults can best support students who struggle—especially students who have anxiety disorders, emotional or behavioral disabilities, or autism.

Coauthor of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, Jessica is also a HuffPost blogger. Her articles (here's one) and efforts are dedicated to helping both students and teachers succeed. Check out this podcast for practical strategies on reaching students with behavioral issues:

5. Michael Fox

michael-fox.JPG“When we build rapport with them,” Michael says of the kids in his school, “it helps them understand that as they go through the building, and through their day, and through their years at the school, there’s always going to be somebody there to count on.”

Michael is an elementary school teacher for Elmbrook Schools here in the Milwaukee area. He also teaches his colleagues strategies for building relationships with kids, enhancing verbal skills, de-escalating disruptive behavior, and working with kids who have experienced trauma.

6. Shawn White

“If kids matter, then so do their stories,” Shawn writes. “I teach to honor my students’ stories.” Currently a special educator, Shawn has also worked with kids as a guide in a wilderness therapy and residential school program and as a residential treatment worker. His approach helps struggling students identify less with documented negative behavior and more with new stories that empower their sense of control and their sense of self.

Who’s a teacher who you want to thank? Give ’em a shout-out in the comments!

Or fill in the blank: “I’m proud to be an educator when _____.” Tweet your answer to #EduProud!

Posted May 2015. Updated August 2015.
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