Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lee’s Summit Middle School Instructor is Missouri’s New Teacher

Lee's Summit Middle School Instructor is

Missouri's New Teacher of the Year by Missouri Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

A Lee's Summit teacher who "brings the world to her students" and
helps them connect world history to their own lives has been selected
as Missouri's Teacher of the Year for 2009-10, state education
officials announced today.

Susanne Mitko, is beginning her sixth year of teaching seventh-grade
social studies at Bernard Campbell Middle School in the Lee's Summit
School District and has taught for a total of 18 years. She was
selected yesterday after a personal interview with a nine-member
selection committee appointed by the Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education.

In her current assignment, Ms. Mitko teaches the history of the
Eastern Hemisphere, from Stone Age time to AD 1500, with a special
emphasis on world religions and cultures. She works with a wide range
of students, from those with special needs to those preparing for
International Baccalaureate studies.

"I am part salesman, part thespian and part cheerleader as I strive to
spark my students' interests and engage them in the world. Social
studies is the vehicle through which I teach children about our world
and prepare them for their futures," she wrote in her Teacher of the
Year application.

She shares her personal travel experiences with students – including a
trip to China – and helps them gain perspective from other cultures.
She uses current issues and world events to help students appreciate
the impact of geography, culture and politics on history.

Ms. Mitko also likes to grab students' interest with real-world
problems and issues. For example, she described the activities in her
recent "Heroes" project: "Students research a problem in Sub-Saharan
Africa, find examples of individuals making a difference and then
develop a call to action for the school community. Students not only
learn about a problem, but create solutions and become more empowered
by their positive impact on the situation."

Mitko tutors struggling students in after-school help sessions, and
she mentors new and aspiring teachers. She earned her master's degree
at Avila University in Kansas City (1998) and has maintained her
relationship with Avila as an adjunct instructor for both graduate and
undergraduate students.

Mitko's colleagues describe her as a creative instructor who
constantly finds imaginative ways to spark her students' interest in
learning ancient history – and who takes time to learn each of her
student's unique needs and strengths.

Her principal, Dr. Vicki Porter, observed that Mitko "sets clear
goals, communicates high expectations, employs positive reinforcement,
demonstrates enthusiasm, personalizes instruction and encourages
student response. Susanne turns routine classroom topics into
exciting adventures."

Before joining the Lee's Summit School District, Ms. Mitko taught at
Father Flanagan's Boys' Town in Omaha, Neb., for one year and at the
Visitation School in Kansas City for 12 years.

She began college with the goal of becoming a lawyer, but shifted
direction and chose to become a teacher. She earned her bachelor's
degree in 1985 and her education degree in 1987 at the University of
Missouri-Kansas City.

The State Board of Education will honor Ms. Mitko and the five state
finalists in the Teacher of the Year program at a Nov. 16 banquet in
Jefferson City. Each teacher will receive cash awards and other

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program is conducted by the
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with major funding
provided by the Boeing Company, St. Louis. Ms. Mitko automatically
becomes Missouri's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year
program, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

1 comment:

Patricia Wall said...

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