Florida Department of Education recognizes six MICMS teachers as 'Highest Impact Teachers'

Lisa Conley, lisa.conley@naplesnews.com; 239-213-5308

People sometimes say that the impact a teacher has on a student's life can't be measured. Well, the Florida Department of Education disagrees; the department uses statewide standardized test scores to determine teachers' impact on their students, and has recently recognized six Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) teachers as "Highest Impact Teachers."

Six Marco Island Charter Middle School teachers received "Highest Impact Teacher" awards from the Fla. Department of Education. Front row, left to right: Terese Glasser, Kathy Albanese, and Sara Neustadt.  Back row: Jerra Minning, Doug Lindsay and Jaclyn Lightell.

The department recognized Terese Glasser, Kathy Albanese, Sara Neustadt, Jerra Minning, Doug Lindsay and Jaclyn Lightell as “Highest Impact Teachers,” meaning “(they) have had an impact on student learning that is among the most statistically-significantly positive in the entire state.”

But Glasser has a less calculated definition of what it means to be a high impact teacher.

"They serve a diverse student body and do so with excellence," she said. "High impact teachers push themselves to learn new and innovative ways to reach students and raise their level of achievement. They work hard to support students at all levels and to provide supportive, yet rigorous instruction, for all learners."

MICMS Principal George Abounader said that he’s proud of his teachers because although teaching at any level is a challenge, teaching middle school students is especially difficult.

“Teaching middle school-age students in today’s ever changing public education climate requires not only a thorough knowledge of the subject matter being taught and an understanding of the middle school student’s thought processes, but also a high degree of professionalism, passion, and an effective way of engaging the student and motivating them to do their best,” he said. “These teachers have demonstrated excellence in all of these best practices.”

Students Morgan Broxson and Jesse Giansanti raise their hands in MICMS language arts teacher Jerra Minnng's class. Marco schoolchildren, along with all those in Collier County, returned to classrooms on Monday morning.

This marks the second year that the Florida Department of Education has recognized teachers at MICMS as “Highest Impact Teachers.” Last year the department recognized Albanese and Lightell, both of whom have taught at the school for 14 years and currently teach 8th and 6th grade math, respectively, and Glasser, who’s been at the school for 13 years as the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) coordinator.

Glasser said she's honored that the department has named her a "Highest Impact Teacher" again.

"It is an honor to receive “Highest Impact Teacher" two years in a row (and) I was able to receive (it) because each day I get to work with incredibly talented group of teachers that want nothing but the best for our students and families," she said. "So I personally want to thank my colleagues for all their dedication to our students and helping me obtain this honor."

Albanese agrees.

"It is a great honor to be recognized by the state as a “Highest Impact Teacher” and for this honor to occur two years in a row is wonderful," she said. 

But to her, helping students have an "aha!" moment is the best honor of all.

"The moments that mean the most to me during my entire teaching career is seeing the look on a student’s face or hearing the words 'I get it' when they are proud of themselves," she said, "whether it is performance on lesson, homework, a quiz, a test or a life lesson is one of the most inspiring moments for me."

The school itself has also received positive recognition from the state; it’s received an “A” grade for more than a decade, and was recently awarded “A+” status.