Posted Date: 11/12/2021
Danyelle McDade, kindergarten and first-grade special education teacher, has been named the 2021-2022 K.R. Hanchey Elementary Teacher of the Year.
She believes that students learn best when they feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe.
In her classroom, students learn that they are unique and that they are valued.
“I tell my students each day that they are special, loved, and wanted,” said McDade.
Encouraging and supporting students in this way helps them to step outside their comfort zone and try new things, which is the essence of learning. When they know that they will be supported as they try, then they have the opportunity to learn and grow.
McDade has been an elementary teacher for 28 years, teaching kindergarten, first grade, and special education at KRH for the past 24 years. Prior to that, she taught second grade at Pickering Elementary and kindergarten at West Leesville Elementary.
In addition to her teaching duties, she is on the KRH Leadership Team, the Student Recognition Team, and is a Student Teacher Mentor. She is CPI certified, a PBIS Tier 1 and Tier 2 Leader, and proficient in Google Classroom.
McDade earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Northwestern State University and her Special Education Certification Update from the University of Phoenix.
She is from a family of educators and was taught the love of learning from childhood.
“My dad was a high school teacher, and I wanted to be a teacher like him,” she explained. “He would always push his students to be their best but did so in fun and exciting ways. “
“I want my students to experience the love of learning in fun and exciting ways as well,” she said.
She uses a touchscreen smartboard to introduce and review skills and manipulatives for motivation, which allow students to be hands-on, play games, and learn at the same time.
She points out that educators need to be supported by the community.
Her advice to new educators is to do their job with love and pride and not to let the little things bog them down.
Her favorite thing about teaching is getting hugs and fist bumps as students enter her classroom and when students are comfortable enough with her to ask for help.
She believes that joy and thankfulness are contagious and will spread to others when shared.
“Hugs and Skittles are a vital part of my day,” she concluded.