EAST HARTFORD — Cara Quinn, a sixth-grade teacher, who draws inspiration for teaching from her students, is Connecticut’s 2015 Teacher of the Year.
State and local officials joined Mrs. Quinn to deliver the good news to her students and colleagues last Wednesday at the Sunset Ridge School in East Hartford.
Throughout Quinn’s 11 years as a Connecticut educator, she has distinguished herself as a teacher who challenges her students to “shatter their individual glass ceilings” and to make a difference in the world, state officials said.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to our world each day through the work that I so dearly love, ” Quinn said.
Besides the academic excellence, Quinn cultivates in her classrooms, she is equally focused on her students’ character development. She also spearheaded initiatives to broaden student horizons regarding college and careers. Working with the University of Connecticut, she created a college immersion experience for students. She also organizes an annual Career Day where students have the opportunity to interact with 30 professionals from the community
Quinn was chosen from among four finalists, 15 semifinalists, and over 100 district-level Teachers of the Year. A statewide council of former Teachers of the Year and representatives from educational organizations, businesses, and the community conducted the rigorous selection process, which includes on-site visits, candidate applications, interviews, and observations of teaching.
“The Teacher of the Year Program does not attempt to select the ‘best’ teacher in Connecticut. Rather, it seeks to identify, from among many outstanding educators, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession,” said Susan Pelchat, selection committee chairperson for the Connecticut Teacher of the Year (TOY) Council.
“Connecticut’s teachers of the year provide an important voice on educational issues in our state,” said Commissioner Pryor. “They participate in an advisory council at the State Department of Education and, in so doing, they offer an invaluable perspective on statewide education policy and its implementation. We are deeply grateful for their contributions.”
Quinn began her career teaching a fourth-grade classroom in Bolton and has taught the last nine years in East Hartford where she focuses on bringing equity to education and closing the achievement gap. East Hartford Public School leaders praised Mrs. Quinn for her work.
“Cara inspires all of us regarding the true meaning of what it means to be a teacher—expect more, love kids and work hard to make a difference. We are so proud to have Cara represent the great teachers of East Hartford and the entire state of Connecticut,” East Hartford Superintendent Nathan Quesnel said. “Cara will be strong ambassador of the TOY program as she is an example for all of us.”