Rhonda Stevens Awarded Teacher of the Year

Rhonda Stevens, an 8th Grade Teacher from Beatrice Rafferty School, was awarded the 2017 Washington County Teacher of the Year earlier this year. Miss Stevens was nominated by her principal Michael Chadwick and has been teaching at Beatrice Rafferty for 19 years. (Photo courtesy of Rhonda Stevens)

 

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

As summer ends and school is getting ready to go back into session, teachers are readying their classrooms for a new year and new students. One of those teachers is Washington County Teacher of the Year Rhonda Stevens from Beatrice Rafferty.

Stevens has been at Beatrice Rafferty for nineteen years of her twenty-two year long teaching career. Currently, Miss Stevens teaches the 8th grade class at Beatrice Rafferty where she has all classes except for math. 

Stevens did not take a traditional route into teaching, nor did she grow up wanting to teach. When she was growing up, Stevens had difficulty in school. Stevens had no desire to teach at first and instead wanted to be a physical therapist. When circumstances changed, Miss Stevens moved back home and started taking classes at the University of Maine at Machias. 

The Washington County Teacher of the Year award is part of the Educate Maine Teacher of the Year program. The program selects a teacher of the year from each of the 17 counties across the State of Maine one of which is then selected as the State of Maine Teacher of the Year. Miss Stevens was one of the 378 teachers nominated this year from across the state and was selected as the Washington County Teacher of the Year. 

Miss Stevens was nominated by her principal Michael Chadwick. “Rhonda excels at challenging her students academically, and goes above and beyond to make sure they are fed, have warm clothes in the winter and are safe. Many times over the years she has kids at her house on the weekends completing school work and getting caught up on assignments. In the classroom, Rhonda is challenging and demanding of her students. Her students have the utmost respect for her and disciplinary issues just don’t happen because of the climate of mutual respect that is created and maintained in her classroom,” Chadwick said in his nomination of Miss Stevens to the Educate Maine Program. 

Beyond the standard curriculum in the classroom Miss Stevens works to get the students more involved in the community providing multiple avenues for the students to give back. 

“To foster a community connection and to initiate stewardship, I work closely with the food sovereignty program as well as the garden to school projects. Regularly we are in the gardens or in the orchards working on land stewardship,” said Stevens. 

Miss Stevens also works colleges across the State of Maine and further as part of her Gear Up Grant to take the 8th grade students on tours of the colleges. Her last 8th grade class visited a total of fifteen colleges in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. 

When she isn’t in the classroom, Miss Stevens helps the students with the school yearbook, sending her charges to games and activities to take pictures. She also spends time doing crafting and helping with the Eastport Fourth of July Celebration and Pirate Festival. Miss Stevens is active in her church and enjoys spending time with her two dogs. 

Congratulations Miss Stevens and good luck in the new school year.