In a surprise announcement last week, Allen Brook School physical education teacher Lyn Porter was named Vermont’s recipient of the National University System’s Sanford Teacher Award.
She will receive $10,000 in recognition of her work inspiring Williston’s youngest students. Porter has been at Allen Brook for 30 years and has coached three sports at the middle school level.
As part of her work, Porter purposefully organizes young people of mixed ability levels in small groups that encourage conversation and cooperation. She teaches students about the value of inclusion and being able to work with everyone. As the school year progresses, she organizes students into larger groups to help them become even more inclusive.
“Listening and sharing also provides a great deal of learning,” she said in a press release. “As a teacher I facilitate this learning but don’t always drive the direction of the discussion. I also talk a lot about how the best athletes are not always the most skilled. They are the best athletes because they know how to make everyone on their team better.”
The Sanford Teacher Award honors a teacher in each state and the District of Columbia for supporting student development and achievement in inspirational ways. The award was established in the name of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.
Each teacher recipient is now eligible to be named the national winner of the Sanford Teacher Award, which comes with a total award of $50,000 and will be announced at a future date.
The teachers were selected by a committee of educators and faculty based on an application process that included nominations and information provided by each teacher. Sanford Teacher Award winners were selected for demonstrating inspirational teaching practices, engaging students, building student confidence, motivating students to succeed, giving students a voice and creating an inclusive environment.
“As a child, I was fortunate to have a few teachers who truly inspired me to learn and succeed,” Sanford said. “Educators have many similar opportunities to touch children’s lives and have had a profound influence on their lives and learning. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, I can think of no better return on investment than inspiring students to embrace learning and their path in life.”