Megan Hall is Minnesota Teacher of the Year!!
It is a thrill to announce that our own science teacher, Megan Hall, was selected as the 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year!
For all the news coverage: click here.
Megan came to Open School as a student teacher in 2002 and returned as a full-time science teacher in 2006. In addition to teaching a wide range of engaging science classes, Megan has built partnerships with the National Park Service, the Will Steger Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, among others, that have led to exciting fieldwork opportunities and expeditions. In addition, Megan is the staff leader of the annual Outward Bound Service Adventure. In addition to coordinating the many details of a student trip, each year Megan mentors a new group of students through organizing and execution of many fundraisers (service auction, dances, plant sale, etc.) it takes to support the trip. Many students mention these trips as transformative experiences in their college applications and graduation speeches.
Megan exemplifies life-long learning and scholarship. Megan and Tom are the brains and authors behind the Crew format and character education lessons we use at OWL and they have presented on the topic as a master class at the Expeditionary Learning National Conference. They will teach a graduate-level course on transforming school culture through character education at Hamline University this summer. “Keeping focused on students’ emotions and character development are as essential tasks as any other academic goal,” explains Megan. “As a teacher, I have observed the transformative power of the humanistic approach for students of all walks of life, and I am devoted to developing accessible tools that other educators can use to do the same.” In addition, Megan has published articles on science education in The Science Teacher, among other publications, and has presented at many educational conferences.
Last, but not least, Megan understands that students’ need for school celebrations do not end in elementary school. As such, she celebrates birthdays in her Crew, allowing students to select their favorite Crew game to play that day. At community meetings, Megan is the driving force behind recognition of students for quiet achievements that often go unnoticed in other schools. She makes lovely certificates too!
Congratulations Megan – and we are grateful for all you do for the students and staff at OWL!
Below is an excerpt from Megan’s acceptance speech:
“I am so grateful to my school, Open World Learning Community, for being the place where I learned the spirit of service; where all voices are heard and respected; where students, parents, and staff work together to create a culture of authentic belonging; and where no one is ever done learning. My students are the primary source of joy in my working life; they are curious, funny, kind, and insightful. Of course teaching is a hard job, but it is also deeply meaningful. Whether it is in the laboratory, during our team-building period, or on a service trip, I am so grateful to bear witness to those moments when my students’ hearts and minds spring to life.”
“My school has been through some dark days, and there is a group of teachers that has worked steadfastly, with the help of our union organizers, through seemingly insurmountable difficulties to get where we are today. The work of my retired mentor, Julie Doble, and the six of us who are still teaching at Open, adds up to more than 100 years devoted to our pedagogical convictions. Words cannot begin to express how honored I am to work with these outstanding teachers. Every morning, no matter how the wind blows, we get up and create opportunities for our students to become the wonderful people they already are. This award is for all of us: Tom, Julie, Tim, Elizabeth, Susanne and Leo: thank you for your commitment, your compassion, and for standing together in solidarity over the decades.”
The award comes with a Smart board for the school, a cash prize, a trip to NASA Space Camp, and Megan will be the Minnesota representative in the National Teacher of the Year contest next year. In that capacity, she will get to travel to Washington with the national finalists from other states and meet with President Obama.
Congratulations Megan! We are so proud to call you our own!