When Kristy Dube ’99 was told she was selected as Teacher of the Year for Penobscot County, at first, she thought she had heard wrong, followed by the emotion of being extremely honored.
“Penobscot County has thousands of hard-working, exceptional educators. What a privilege and distinction to be recognized among this group,” said Kristy. “I am very grateful to the Bangor School Department and my coworkers at the Fourteenth Street School, all of whom have encouraged and guided my professional and personal growth as an educator.”
Kristy is currently a kindergarten teacher at Fourteenth Street School in Bangor, ME, and every day aspires to educate, inspire, learn, and affect positive change. She takes her platform to help and mold young minds seriously.
“I have the opportunity to engage, motivate, and inspire students to learn and to impact lessons that can last a lifetime.”
She also says learning goes both ways, “Teaching is a profession where you learn something new many times a day, and the lessons I learn from my own students are the ones that make the job so fulfilling.”
With such a passion for teaching, you wouldn’t think that Kristy originally entered Thomas College as a sport management major. It wasn’t until she spent the summer after her first year at Thomas College, teaching in a summer school setting, that it was clear teaching was her true passion. Although, if you ask Kristy’s family, she says they would tell you she was born to be a teacher; setting up her own “school classroom” in the basement, using leftover lesson plans to teach her students – stuffed animals; and, being a daughter of an educator and seeing the teacher lifestyle beyond the school day.
When reflecting on how Thomas College helped prepare her for a career in education, Kristy expresses learning the fundamentals of education; receiving numerous hands-on experiences inside classroom settings; and, gaining the confidence needed with the guidance from professors like Dr. Philomena McPhee-Brown.
“I have many fond memories of my time at Thomas College, both in the academic setting and in competing on the athletics fields. The personal and professional relationships I created have been lifelong and life changing, and these many experiences prepared me well for the next steps in my professional development,” said Kristy.
With the switch to virtual learning and the large impact it is having on the education field and children, Kristy has found clear communication with students and their families is important – emails, phone conversations, Zoom meetings, and Google Classroom have been a few ways she has been able to do this. She has also found it important to make an effort to speak daily with her colleagues to help with emotional and psychological support.
“I have sought to show compassion and flexibility, recognizing that each student and each family is coping with their own challenges and priorities, while acknowledging and appreciating their individual efforts.”
Congratulations again to Kristy Dube for being named 2020 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year and for showing what the Thomas College community is all about.