Four Cape Coral teachers were surprised in their classrooms this week with the announcement that they were chosen as Lighthouse Award recipients.
The Lighthouse Award is presented to one teacher in each of the four charter schools operated by the city of Cape Coral.
"The Lighthouse Awards have been designed to be a 'beacon for excellence in education,'" said Cape Coral Municipal Charter School Foundation Executive Director Kevin J. Colpoys. "It's very important to the Foundation and the Governing Board to provide recognition to our educators."
Christa McAuliffe Elementary School’s Theresa Beuerle
The honorees are Christa McAuliffe Elementary School's Theresa Beuerle, Oasis Charter Elementary School's Alicia Wallace, Oasis Middle School's Elisa Collins and Stephen Jamison of Oasis Charter High School.
"This is our fourth year in presenting the award," said Colpoys.
The Lighthouse winners will be formally honored on April 20 at a ceremony at The Pavilion at Cape Harbour. They will get a Waterford Crystal Lighthouse to symbolize the honor. A unique piece of art, there is a lighted open base where light shines through.
At the event, there also will be five educators recognized with the Distinguished Educator Award. They are Joseph Pace from Christa McAuliffe Elementary; Dana Alvarez and Ashley Marsh from Oasis Elementary School and Kathleen Paul-Evans and Analee Kirner from Oasis Middle School.
"At the event the Lighthouse winners are being asked to make brief comments that characterize their commitment to creating an environment that optimizes teaching and learning," he said. "Further, they will add what they believe has made them successful as an educator."
The four Lighthouse Award winners were asked about their philosophies and actions in the classrooms, and their principals asked about the contributions and character of the teachers.
At Oasis Elementary School honoree Alicia Wallace said, "My initial reaction was that I was honored and very excited. I feel so blessed to work with such awesome kids and be a part of the Oasis community. I love being able to share my passion for learning, through hands-on activities and experiences for students. Teaching kindergarten is always an adventure."
"Alicia has been an outstanding teacher since she was hired," Oasis Elementary School Principal Steven Hook said. "She models our core values at Oasis of being kind, caring, loving and respectful, and she has a passion for teaching. Her children and parents just love her."
Christa McAuliffe Elementary School Principal Jaquelin Collins on Theresa Beuerle said, "She is always happy, laughing, very positive-thinking and jovial, and a very, very hands-on teacher. She thinks out-of-the-box. She's perfect for first grade students because she also keeps them entertained while operating in a professional manner."
"I'm honored and still speechless," said Beuerle. "My philosophy or mission would be to encourage each child to learn how to learn so they can answer questions for themselves, and inspire them to want to know. Best of all, I love the life that the children bring to the classroom."
Of Elisa Collins, Oasis Middle School Principal Dr. Melissa Byington said, "She is a very creative, energetic, dynamic teacher who is great in making connections for her students. She teaches sixth grade. She's also an asset to our staff by providing professional resources and assisting with staff development."
"I teach Study Skills - Learning to Learn," said Collins. "I was very surprised to see so many people come to let me know about the award. It was kind of like having the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. The kids were surprised as well."
Of what she teaches, she said many don't fully understand. "What it is, is that we teach the children how to learn, to use the abilities that they have to help them be the very best learner."
She said she patterns the philosophy of Karl Fisch, a "teacher/technology education guru." She uses his now famous quote: "We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet."
"I really work hard with the students to make them rely on themselves. What I am teaching them to be is learners, how to learn strategically, organize themselves, process new information, make critical desicions and how to access it at a later time, to use these 'superpowers' to be successful in the 21st century, in this school, in high school and the future."
Oasis High School Principal Chris Terrill talked about teacher Steve Jameson. "Steve is a tremendous teacher that brings a wealth of knowledge to the classroom. He is exciting and dynamic and relates well to students."
Jameson said, "I'm excited, surprised as well with the award and the students applauded. I try to keep a sense of humor in the classroom. There should a little bit of laughter every day. Really, to me is setting high expectations. I don't tell them to strive for perfection, I tell them to strive for excellence."
Tickets for the event are now on sale at all the schools for $25.