2006 National Teacher of the Year
Washington, DC, April 25, 2006 – Her childhood admiration of a daycare teacher and her college summers spent working at a young children’s day camp inspired Kimberly Oliver to become an educator. Since then, Oliver has devoted her life to building on these experiences, especially the one-on-one relationship forged between that special teacher and herself. With a focus on individualized education and a love of reading, along with tailoring lessons and projects to the needs of individual students, she has been able to profoundly impact her school and neighborhood.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings,
2006 National Teacher of the Year Kimberly Oliver,
First Lady Laura Bush, and President George W. Bush
The White House South Lawn, April 26, 2006
Maryland Kindergarten Educator
Named National Teacher of the Year at White House Ceremony
“I realized that I adore working with children,” Oliver said. “This experience helped to shape many of my beliefs about what children can do if someone believes in them. I knew then that I wanted to motivate and inspire the neediest students whom many have written off just because of the circumstances they were born into.”
Because of her community focus, teamwork with other teachers, and a desire to see all students succeed, Oliver was named 2006 National Teacher of the Year by President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony on April 26, 2006. Also recognized at this event were the 2006 state teachers of the year.
The National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by ING in partnership with Scholastic Inc., is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The National Teacher of the Year Program focuses public attention on teaching excellence and is the oldest and most prestigious awards program for teachers. According to Bill Jasien, senior vice president and head of education and retail market distribution, ING U.S. Financial Services, ING is proud to be involved. "ING is thrilled to be sponsoring the National Teacher of the Year Program for a second year in a row," Jasien said. "We believe in the importance of honoring excellence in education and are proud to partner with CCSSO to celebrate the national and state teachers of the year. These teachers are devoted to educating our children and deserve the recognition.”
“We are honored to partner with CCSSO once again to recognize and celebrate passionate and innovative educators,” added Ernie Fleishman, senior vice president, education and corporate relations, Scholastic. “Scholastic congratulates Kimberly Oliver and the state teachers of the year, as well as all of the educators around the country whose work inside and out of the classroom enriches the lives of children and families every day.”
Oliver, a kindergarten teacher at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, is the 56th national teacher of the year and the first to represent Maryland. She will begin a year as a full-time national and international spokesperson for education on June 1, 2006. She certainly has plenty of information and experience to share.
When Oliver came to Broad Acres Elementary School in 2000, the school was in danger of being restructured by the state because of declining academic performance. “By building a professional learning community and emphasizing collaboration, I have impacted the learning of more than 500 students. Through collaborating with others, I helped turn around an underperforming school despite the obstacles of poverty, race, language, and mobility.”
In her six years at Broad Acres, she has helped create and implement several programs to ensure consistency in curriculum, instruction, and assessment throughout the school. As a result, her school made improvements on local, state, and national tests, and in 2001 was the number one school in her school system for percentage increases in test scores. In 2003, 2004, and 2005 they met or exceeded all requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
To promote literacy throughout her community, Oliver helps sponsor “Books and Supper Night,” an event held four times a year that allows families to visit the school and check out books from the library. They read together, receive free books to continue family reading time at home, and enjoy a communal dinner where they interact with and get to know their neighbors.
This is just one of the ways she works to supply families with learning materials in their homes. Working with colleagues, Oliver has written and received grants to purchase electronic learning systems, tape players, and books in English and Spanish to send home with students, taking the burden off of parents who struggle with language barriers or illiteracy.
Diane Hoffman, the Montgomery County Public Schools in-district trainer who consults and helps train Broad Acres’ teachers, has been impressed with the leadership and skill of Oliver, whom she said possesses “the teaching skills of an effective veteran, far beyond her years.”
“Kim has given back to others, many times over, the professional development resources she was afforded early on,” Hoffman said, adding, “She is the consummate team player who has helped to raise the quality of teaching and learning among her colleagues and students at Broad Acres Elementary School. It is hard to believe that her students are only in kindergarten when you see Oliver's students in action. There is not one wasted minute of instructional time during any day. Together, they create quite a symphony of learning.”
Oliver’s excellent teaching skills do not only benefit her students and colleagues. With her help, Emie Cadet became much more than just another parent for whom English is barely a second language; she has gained fluency and confidence in herself and her children’s ability to succeed and now volunteers to help other French- and Creole-speaking children and parents.
“I saw for myself how much the students learned from Ms. Oliver, but I learned very much from Ms. Oliver also,” Cadet said. “I learned how I could help my own children at home; I learned that every parent, regardless of where they come from, what language they speak, or how much education they have themselves, can help their child and their school. It takes a special kind of teacher to draw that out of parents—a teacher like Ms. Oliver.”
Oliver was born on October 20, 1976, and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, where her parents and older brother still reside. She is a graduate of William Penn High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English arts from Hampton University in 1998 and a master’s degree in elementary education from Wilmington College in 2000. While working on her master’s degree, she gained experience at the Elementary Workshop Montessori School in Wilmington, DE, as an assistant teacher for a multiage class of 9–12 year olds. In 2004, Oliver earned her early childhood generalist certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
A committee of representatives from 14 national education organizations chooses the national teacher of the year from among the state teachers of the year, including those representing American Samoa, Department of Defense Education Activity, District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The other 2006 national teacher of the year finalists are Samuel R. Bennett, a fifth-grade teacher at Garner Elementary School in Winter Haven, Florida; Ronald W. Poplau, a community service teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kansas; and Susan Barnard, a language arts teacher at CHOICE Alternative High School in Shelton, Washington.
State teachers of the year are selected on the basis of nominations by students, teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the states. Applications are then submitted to CCSSO, where the national selection committee reviews the data on each state candidate and selects the four finalists. The selection committee then personally interviews each finalist before naming the national teacher of the year. Additional information on the National Teacher of the Year Program can be accessed at www.ccsso.org/ntoy.
2006 NTOY Application Information and Essays
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document last updated 1/14/2010