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Brandywine School Dist. teacher named First State’s ‘Teacher of the Year’

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
Wendy Turner talks with Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky after being honored as Delaware's 2017 Teacher of the Year.

A Brandywine School District teacher was named Delaware’s 2017 Teacher of the Year Tuesday night.


Wendy Turner is a second grade teacher at Mount Pleasant Elementary School. She’s in her seventh year of teaching and says she’s humbled to receive the award.


“I promise to represent our noble profession and the great state of Delaware with the utmost zeal, passion and integrity and professionalism that I can muster,” Turner said. “I promise that I will not let you down.”


Turner originally began her career at an accounting firm, but decided it was unfulfilling and made the switch to teaching


“You know, I think it’s the positive impact you can see on human beings every single day,” Turner said, on her love for teaching. “I get to go in and know that I am helping kids become better citizens, learning skills that will help them in life and just making a difference.”


She said the teachers she had when she was a student  - particularly her fourth grade teacher who taught her about perseverance - helped shaped the way she handles her classroom today.


That is one of the first lessons she teaches her second graders, she said.


“In the first month of school I teach them the word ‘perseverance’, what it means and when the going gets tough we talk about persevering in the classroom,” Turner said.


Perseverance is also something she has taught both her children, Maggie and Michael, who were thrilled to watch her be named Teacher of the Year.


“It’s a huge honor,” her son Michael, 9, said. “She’s persevered. She’s helped a lot of students. She’s just done so many great things and now it’s paid off and I knew this would all pay off.”


Turner’s daughter Maggie added, “It’s just amazing because there has been so many years where she had to do all these events for things she loved doing, like helping the environment, and it’s just so incredible that she got this.”


And being named Teacher of the Year is an “outstanding example for (their) kids,” Turner’s husband, Dan, said.


“There’s an unbelievable amount of pride in seeing their mom every day in the morning going off to do what she’s passionate about, I think, which propels them to go into their respective schools and find their own passion,” Dan Turner said. “You can’t think of a better family environment than to live under the roof with a teacher.”


As Delaware’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Turner received a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefits of her students and two personal grants totaling $5,000. Nineteen other nominees for “Teacher of the Year” were honored with personal grants of $2,000.


The state’s 53rd teacher of the year will also now compete for national Teacher of the Year.