Teri Gerry, a special education teacher at Madison Middle School, was honored on Tuesday afternoon with the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award during a presentation in the high school auditorium.
On receiving her plaque, Gerry said that she would accept the award with the understanding that it was an honor "...for me and my village." She gave her thanks to the paraprofessionals who worked with her in the classrooms, administrators who provided support and her fellow teachers.
According to Gerry, the teachers at MMS continue to try new methods to successfully educate all boys and girls with the skills that they need.
"We just keep on trying," Gerry said. "Some of these methods work and some don't, but we continue trying each day."
Gerry has taught special education programs at MMS for the last 13 years. The MMS website currently lists Gerry, another special-education teacher and five paraprofessionals on the school staff. She acknowledged the challenges that Madison's public schools have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year. Despite those difficulties, Gerry said, "I think it's gone by really quick."
Her fellow teachers from the middle and high schools gathered in the auditorium for the ceremony after classes were let out on Tuesday. The elementary school teachers gathered in the commons area of their school building to join the event through a distance-video connection.
While greeting the teachers at the start of the award presentation, Superintendent Joel Jorgenson said the Madison Central School District could present awards to 90 teachers who have taught in Madison's schools during the past year. Jorgenson encouraged the educators to continue their efforts for the rest of the school year.
Jorgenson noted that the award recognizes a teacher's efforts in providing instructional leadership, dedicated service and teaching excellence.
After the presentation, Gerry said the COVID-19 pandemic "...had provided an interesting year for teaching children."
Gerry's family was invited to the high school to join the presentation. Gerry, her husband Lowell and family members Maddie, Zoey and Shelia Gerry and Jerry Sprecher gathered after the ceremony to pose for photos.