Susan S. Jones, a Fruitland Primary School first grade teacher who has been known to reward student effort with words of praise like “kiss your brain” and “superstar zone” – and even to perform a happy dance on a desk – was recognized for her outstanding work in the classroom when she was named 2012-13 Wicomico Teacher of the Year March 22 at the annual Wicomico Teacher of the Year Banquet at the Commons at Salisbury University.
Nominations for Jones came from a student, parents and colleagues, all of whom praised her fun, caring, energetic and expert teaching style.
“She makes me feel good,” a student wrote. “She is exciting!”
A parent characterized Jones as “genuine, caring, firm yet fun-loving,” and said she is a “shining example of what a teacher should be.”
A parent who has had two children in Jones’ class said her 10-year-old still remembers how cool it was to have Mrs. Jones do a happy dance on his desk. “I know this seems like such a simple thing, but it has such an impact on the kids in that room. How awesome it must feel to have somebody dance just for you when you answer a tough question right or when you meet a math test goal.”
Another parent praised her ability to differentiate instruction each and every day to engage students of every level and to help each child develop and celebrate his or her own unique gifts.
A colleague shared that she is “incredibly flexible, imaginative and resourceful, constantly searching for new ways to help her students experience success. Perhaps most of all, Susie is gifted with a genuine and powerful desire to influence little learners. Perceiving this, her students eagerly respond with an excitement for learning they will carry with them for life!”
Jones works actively and eagerly on the transition to Race to the Top, embraces STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) opportunities for her students, serves as co-chair of her school’s Instructional Leadership Team, and fosters the development of future teachers by working with numerous teacher interns at Fruitland Primary and serving as an adjunct professor at Salisbury University.
Jones holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Salisbury University, and began working for Wicomico County Public Schools in 1994 as a teacher at North Salisbury Elementary School in the Magnet Program. She has taught first grade at Fruitland Primary since 2006. Last year, Jones was a Teacher of the Year finalist.
As Wicomico Teacher of the Year, Jones represents the outstanding staff of Fruitland Primary School and the county's more than 1,250 teachers. Later this year, she will represent Wicomico County Public Schools in the Maryland Teacher of the Year contest. Wicomico is proud to have two former Maryland Teachers of the Year, Bonnie Walston and Aaron Deal, working in the school system on behalf of students.
The new Teacher of the Year will begin her year in style, arriving at Fruitland Primary School at 9:40 a.m. Friday chauffeured in a classic 1949 Buick provided for the occasion by Wicomico music teacher and auto enthusiast Buck Burton. Jones will be featured, along with this year's three finalists and 22 semi-finalists, in a "Working Together for Children" Teacher of the Year special on PAC 14.