Arizona Teacher of the Year

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Michelle Doherty, a first-grade teacher at Encanto Elementary School in Phoenix, is 2017 Arizona Teacher of the Year. Doherty will discuss her award along with Bobbie O’Boyle, Arizona Educational Foundation executive director, the organization which hands out the award.

TED SIMONS: EVERY YEAR THE ARIZONA EDUCATION FOUNDATION RECOGNIZES 10-PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THEIR SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES. THE NOMINEES ARE RECOGNIZED BY STUDENTS, PARENTS AND CO-WORKERS. THIS YEAR, THE TOP AWARD FOR TEACHER OF THE YEAR GOES TO MICHELLE DOHERTY, A FIRST GRADE TEACHER AT ENCANTO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN THE OSBORNE SCHOOL DISTRICT.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: THANK YOU. HOW DO YOU USE YOUR EARS? HOW DO YOU USE YOUR EARS? TALK TO EACH OTHER. HOW DO YOU USE YOUR EARS? KNOWING MY STUDENTS AND THEIR STRENGTHS IS KEY. KNOWING THEY LOVE TO WORK TOGETHER. THEY ARE GREAT AT LISTENING TO EACH OTHER, GREAT AT SHOWING RESPECT AND USING EACH OTHER'S STRENGTHS, I TRY TO PAIR STUDENTS UP WITH A PARTNER OR SMALL GROUP, WHATEVER IT MAY BE BECAUSE KNOWING MY STUDENTS, I KNOW I CAN GET MORE FROM THEM. I COULD TEACH SOMETHING THAT IS NOT THAT EXCITING, BUT THEY'LL MAKE IT EXCITING BECAUSE THE EXCITEMENT FROM EACH OTHER AND LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER MOTIVATES ME AS WELL. OKAY, SO -- THANK YOU. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE ] KNOWING MY CONTENT, KNOWING THAT I THINK THE KIDS MIGHT DO THIS, AND THEY DO IT. THEY DO SOMETHING ELSE AND I HAVE TO ADJUST MY LESSON. THAT'S KNOWING MY CONTENT, AND KNOWING MY STUDENTS AND TAKING THEM WHERE I NEED TO TAKE THEM. IF A STUDENT NEEDS TO BE CHALLENGED, I NEED TO KNOW THAT. ANY LESSON, NO MATTER WHAT I'M TEACHING, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF STRUCTURES YOU WILL SEE WITHIN THE LESSON.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: IF YOU ARE A HORNED LIZARD -- ARE YOU READY? IF YOU ARE A HORNED LIZARD, YOU CAN SQUIRT BLOOD OUT OF YOUR EYES.

STUDENTS: EW! UGH!

MICHELLE DOHERTY: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THAT? WHAT DO YOU THINK? IF YOU WERE A HORNED LIZARD, AND YOU SHOT OUT THE BLOOD OUT OF YOUR EYES, WHAT MIGHT MAKE YOU DO THAT? MAYBE SAY YOU ARE A HORNED LIZARD AND YOU ARE JUST WALKING, AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, THIS CREATURE COMES TO TRY TO GET YOU. WHAT CAN YOU DO? PRETTY AMAZING, HUH?
MICHELLE DOHERTY: THE MOST IMPORTANT TRAIT I BRING INTO THE CLASSROOM IS BUILDING THE SENSE OF TRUST AND BELIEF IN MY STUDENTS. I FEEL LIKE ONCE I BUILD THAT SENSE OF TRUST, MY KIDS WILL WORK SO HARD FOR ME. WHEN I BELIEVE IN THEM, THEY'LL KEEP TRYING AND TRYING. THEY KNOW NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO, EVEN IF IT'S WRONG, TAKING THE RISK IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING TO LEARN FROM IT. IT'S SOMETHING WE DO ALL DAY EVERYDAY, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S SOMETHING NEW AND YOU SEE KIDS STRUGGLING. THEY KNOW THEY ARE NOT GOING TO FAIL BECAUSE I'M THERE TO SUPPORT THEM. THEY TRUST ME BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THEM. THAT'S REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT.

TED SIMONS: AND JOINING US NOW IS THE 2017 ARIZONA TEACHER OF THE YEAR MICHELLE DOHERTY, AND ALSO WITH US IS BOBBIE O'BOYLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ARIZONA EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU, TEACHER OF THE YEAR.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: TALK TO US ABOUT ENCANTO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: WE ARE AN INNER CITY SCHOOL PRESCHOOL TO THIRD GRADE SCHOOL. WE HAVE A PRESCHOOL WITH A SPANISH IMMERSION PROGRAM. WE ARE KNOWN FOR BEING A DUAL LANGUAGE SCHOOL HALF THE DAY IN ENGLISH, HALF THE DAY IN SPANISH, TWO CLASSES OUT OF EACH GRADE LEVEL. WE HAVE GREAT PROGRAMS, EXCELLENT TEACHERS AND GREAT ADMINISTRATION.

TED SIMONS: AND YOU HAVE BEEN THERE OVER 20 YEARS.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: YES THIS IS MY 23RD YEAR. SAME SCHOOL, SAME ROOM.

TED SIMONS: SAME ROOM?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: I TAUGHT KINDERGARTEN FOR A BIT THERE, BUT I NEVER CHANGED CLASSROOMS. I DON'T KNOW HOW I ARRANGED THAT.

TED SIMONS: THE FIRST YEAR YOU TAUGHT DID YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 20 YEARS IN THE SAME ROOM?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: NO.

TED SIMONS: IN THE SAME SCHOOL?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: THE SAME SCHOOL, YES. I LIKE WHAT OUR SCHOOL IS ABOUT AND WHAT OUR DISTRICT HAS TO SAY AND I LOVE OUR FAMILIES AND THE FAMILIES WE SUPPORT.

TED SIMONS: THE ARIZONA EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, WHAT IS THAT?

BOBBIE O'BOYLE: IT'S A PRIVATE, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT FOCUSES ON EXCELLENCE IN K-12 PUBLIC EDUCATION IN ARIZONA. OUR TEACHER OF THE YEAR IS OUR SIGNATURE PROGRAM. WE IDENTIFY TEN TEACHERS ACROSS THE STATE OF ARIZONA AND HONOR THEM IN A WORTHY MANNER.

TED SIMONS: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR TO HONOR IN YOUR TEACHERS AND IN YOUR TEACHER OF THE YEAR?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: WE DON'T GET THE BEST TEACHER, THAT'S NOT WHAT WE ARE ABOUT. WE GET TEN OUTSTANDING TEACHERS. WE LOOK AT TEACHERS WHO ARE TEACHER LEADERS IN THE COMMUNITY AND WHO ARE LOOKED UP TO BY THEIR COLLEAGUES AND THE STUDENTS AND THE PARENTS OF THEIR STUDENTS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION. THEY DEMONSTRATE ALL OF THAT THROUGH A WRITTEN APPLICATION PROCESS, AND THEN WE NARROW THESE APPLICATIONS DOWN AND INTERVIEW TOP TEN TEACHER AND SELECT THE WINNER FROM THERE.

TED SIMONS: WHY WAS MICHELLE SELECTED?

BOBBIE O'BOYLE: THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. MICHELLE HAS BEEN DOING WHAT SHE'S DOING FOR A LONG TIME. SHE HAS A TRIED AND TRUE TRACK RECORD AS A RESPECTED TEACHING PROFESSIONAL. SHE HAS THE ABILITY TO GET HER MESSAGE ACROSS TO THE PUBLIC. THAT'S AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT WE LOOK FOR IN OUR TEACHER OF THE YEAR.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS TEACHING, BEING A MENTOR IS PROBABLY IMPORTANT TO YOU. DID YOU HAVE MENTORS? DID YOU HAVE TEACHERS YOU LOOKED UP TO?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: GROWING UP, I'M A NATIVE OF ARIZONA, AND I HAD TEACHERS I WAS IN AWE OF. I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT UNTIL I GOT INTO THE EDUCATION PROGRAM. I THOUGHT THAT TEACHER STOOD OUT FOR THIS REASON. IT HAD AN IMPACT ON MY LIFE AND MADE ME THINK ABOUT WHAT I WANTED TO DO AS A TEACHER AND WHAT KIND OF EFFECT I WANT TO HAVE ON MY STUDENTS.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU HEAR FROM THEM?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: THEY COME TO VISIT ALL THE TIME. THEY'LL WALK IN AND SAY SOMETHING SIMPLE AS THANK YOU AND LET MY STUDENTS KNOW WHY THEY CAME TO VISIT AND HOW I HAD AN IMPACT ON THEIR LIFE.

TED SIMONS: YOU TALK ABOUT TRUST AND BEING INCLUSIVE IN THE TEACHING PROCESS AND BEING ATTENTIVE TO STUDENT'S NEEDS. TALK ABOUT THAT AND IS THAT UNUSUAL- I MEAN HAVE TEACHERS FORGOTTEN THAT ALONG THE WAY?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN, BUT IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO PUSH A CHILD TO GET THEM TO WANT TO LEARN, TO GET THEM TO MEET THEIR GOALS. YOU HAVE TO ESTABLISH THAT SENSE OF TRUST. THEY ARE NOT JUST GOING TO DO IT BECAUSE YOU ARE THE TEACHER. THEY HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE THERE FOR AND HOW YOU ARE GOING TO SUPPORT THEM AND HOW TO TRUST YOU. IT GOES BOTH WAYS. I HAVE TO TRUST THEM THAT THEY'LL WORK AT HOME OR VICE VERSA.

TED SIMONS: MORE OF A CHALLENGE IN THE LOWER SOCIO-ECONOMIC SCHOOLS?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: ABSOLUTELY.

TED SIMONS: WHY IS THAT?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: YOU HAVE TO EARN THEIR TRUST. IT'S NOT SOMETHING AGAIN THAT JUST HAPPENS. THEY HAVE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR LIVES THAT AFFECT THEIR ABILITY TO TRUST PEOPLE. IT MAKES ME WORK THAT MUCH HARDER. ONCE I GET THEM, I'M GOOD. I'M SOLID.

TED SIMONS: HOW MANY DAYS DOES IT TAKE TO REALIZE THAT'S A STUDENT THAT NEEDS EXTRA CARE.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: IT DEPENDS. THERE ARE THOSE THAT I CAN PINPOINT RIGHT AWAY AND THERE ARE OTHERS THAT IT TAKES ME LONGER TO FIGURE OUT AND KNOW THEIR STRENGTHS AND THEIR LIKES AND DISLIKES.

TED SIMONS: MICHELLE IS NOW TEACHER OF THE YEAR, ARIZONA TEACHER OF THE YEAR. YOU MENTIONED YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO WORK WELL IN FRONT OF THE PUBLIC. WHAT KIND OF RESPONSIBILITIES WILL SHE HAVE?

BOBBIE O'BOYLE: DURING HER YEAR SHE WILL PRESENT TO HAVE CIVIC GROUPS, EDUCATION GROUPS, COLLEAGUES, FELLOW TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND SO FORTH. SHE WILL INTERACT WITH LAWMAKERS, TALKING TO THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, POSSIBLY THE WHOLE HOUSE AND SENATE DOWN AT THE CAPITAL, FOLKS AT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. SHE WILL BE ASKED TO SERVE ON TASK FORCES. THAT'S REALLY WHAT WE WANT HER TO DO IS TO BE OUT THERE AS A SPOKESPERSON FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION, A SPOKESPERSON FOR HER FELLOW TEACHERS. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE SHE UNDERSTANDS HER MESSAGE AND CAN ARTICULATE IT IN A WAY THAT RELATE TO THE GROUPS.

TED SIMONS: SOUNDS LIKE AN AMBASSADOR FOR EDUCATION, IF YOU WILL.

BOBBIE O'BOYLE: ABSOLUTELY. THAT'S WHAT WE CALL THE FOUR RUNNERS UP, AMBASSADORS FOR EXCELLENCE. THEY SERVE A SIMILAR ROLE. WHEN PEOPLE REQUEST A TEACHER TO COME AND SPEAK, THEY USUALLY WANT OUR TEACHER OF THE YEAR TO COME. WE HAVE FOUR AMBASSADORS THAT HELP AS WELL.

TED SIMONS: I'M A LAWMAKER, MUCKY MUCK SOMEWHERE. YOU ARE GOING TO CONVINCE ME THAT ARIZONA TEACHERS NEED MORE RESPECT, MORE MONEY, MORE ATTENTION. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: COME AND JOIN ME. SPEND THE DAY WITH ME, SPEND A COUPLE OF DAYS WITH ME. ECAUSE SOMETIMES THE FULL PICTURE DOESN'T HAPPEN IN A DAY. COME IN AND VISIT A VARIETY OF DISTRICTS BECAUSE EVERY DISTRICT HAS ITS OWN STORY TOO. COME SPEND TIME WITH US AND GET IN THE TRENCHES THAT WE ARE IN AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON.

TED SIMONS: IS THAT A CONCERN THERE IS A ONE SIZE FIT ALL MENTALITY FOR THOSE NOT IN THE PROFESSION?

MICHELLE DOHERTY: YES. THAT'S WHAT WE THINK. EVERY DISTRICT HAS A STORY, AND EVERY DISTRICT HAS A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. COME AND JOIN US.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT. WE KNOW WHERE TO FIND YOU, SAME ROOM FOR 25 YEAR.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: SAME ROOM.

TED SIMONS: CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING ARIZONA'S TEACHER OF THE YEAR. BOBBIE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AS WELL.

MICHELLE DOHERTY: THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: THURSDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," WE'LL HEAR CITIZEN RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW LAWMAKERS CAN BETTER PLAN THE STATE BUDGET, AND WE'LL VISIT WITH GRAMMY-AWARD WINNING CLASSICAL GUITARIST JASON VIEAUX. THAT'S AT 5:30 AND TEN ON THE NEXT "ARIZONA HORIZON." THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M SAID SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Michelle Doherty: Teacher at Encanto Elementary School
Bobbie O'Boyle: Executive director of Arizona Educational Foundation

Congressman Raul Grijalva

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