Three CTE Teachers Honored by State

Three CTE Teachers Honored by State
Posted on 08/05/2019
Suffolk News-Herald Article:

A Nansemond River High School teacher has earned one of the highest honors given to technology and engineering education teachers in Virginia, picking up the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association’s 2019 Teacher of the Year award.

Dawn Rountree, who teaches engineering in the school’s Project Lead the Way program, said she appreciated receiving the honor with so many teachers doing great things in their classrooms across the state.

“It’s a humbling thing to be seen as a teacher with a high honor within the association,” Rountree said.

“We are proud of your accomplishments,” said VTEEA awards committee chairwoman Catherine Allen. “Your efforts at Nansemond River High School will help ensure that students in the program learn about design, engineering and technology as part of the total high school experience … and your students will develop a significant degree of technological capability.”

Rountree said she is not just teaching students to be engineers but also teaching them to be consumers. But for those who choose engineering as a career, she knows the classes they take with her and her colleagues at Nansemond River will prepare them. Professional engineers, she said, have told her that the things her students are learning are things most don’t learn before they are sophomores in college.

But because she sees many of her students all through high school due to the nature of the Project Lead the Way program, her classes take on more of a family atmosphere.

The VTEEA also honored Forest Glen Middle School career and technical education teacher Debra Shapiro with the John Monroe Outstanding Service Award, given for recognition for extraordinary service to the profession and to the VTEEA by its members.

Shapiro said the award is personal for her, having met Monroe while she was in college at the University of Northern Iowa in the mid-1980s. After having researched states taking the lead in pushing for technology education, she came across Monroe’s name and noted his long-time career with Suffolk Public Schools, as he taught at Southwestern, Forest Glen and Lakeland high schools and was a one-time administrator before going back into the classroom.

When she attended a conference in Kansas City while in college and got to meet him, she was honored. Still, she was not expecting him to remember her a year later when she was at another conference job-hunting, applying to work for Norfolk Public Schools.

Shapiro, who was hired by Norfolk Public Schools 32 years ago, taught at Maury High School before coming to Suffolk and getting assigned to Monroe’s old classroom when she was hired to teach at Forest Glen Middle School, the year after it switched from being a high school. At that time, he had left to teach at Lakeland.

She taught at Forest Glen Middle until mid-December 2003, when she became a technology lead teacher for Suffolk Public Schools and Rountree’s husband, Nathan, was hired to replace her. He’s now working alongside his wife at Nansemond River.

Shapiro did that until 2006, when she taught at King’s Fork Middle School for eight years, teaching her own son before returning to Forest Glen when Nathan Rountree went to Nansemond River. She teaches an introduction to technology course for sixth-graders and a technological systems course for seventh- and eighth-graders.

“We’ve had this great relationship,” Shapiro said of Monroe. “He’s advised and mentored me. He was somewhat of a father figure. He just became a really important part of my life. … He’s always believed in me and championed me.”

Shapiro said given how humble he is, to have his name on an award is huge and blows her mind.

“I’ll never be as wonderful as he is, as far as I’m concerned,” Shapiro said, “but like him, none of the stuff we do is about recognition. It’s about the kids. The other things are just things. The best part of what I do is in the classroom with my kids, or helping other teachers do more with their kids.”

Also recently, King’s Fork High School’s San Antonio Crosby, who teaches basic technical drawing and communications systems, was named as the Tidewater Region president of VTEEA and will serve a two-year term.
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