Haley Mears of East Millsboro Elementary School has been selected as the Indian River School District’s Teacher of the Year for 2021-22.
The announcement was made at the IRSD Teacher of the Year ceremony April 29. Mears was chosen as the overall winner from a pool of 15 candidates, one from each school.
Mears has been a teacher at East Millsboro Elementary for the past seven years. She was a fifth-grade teacher from 2014-17 and has been an intensive learning center teacher since 2017. She began her career as a paraprofessional at East Millsboro from 2005-09. She also served as a social studies teacher at Georgetown Middle in 2009-10 and an English language arts teacher at Millsboro Middle from 2010-14. She is a member of East Millsboro’s instructional leadership team and a coach for the school robotics team. She has also served as a district Odyssey of the Mind coach for the past seven years.
Mears hold a bachelor’s degree in middle-level English and social studies education from Wilmington University, and a master’s degree in reading and literacy from Walden University. She is a graduate of Indian River High School.
“When you walk into Mrs. Mears' multi-grade ILC classroom, you will immediately notice the high expectations for learning as you watch her students actively participating in a hands-on, supportive learning environment,” said Karen Clausen, East Millsboro Elementary School principal. “Mrs. Mears encourages inquiry, collaborative groups, student discussions and personal goal-setting in both ELA and math. The student comfort level with these activities is clear evidence that these are routine practices in her classroom.
“Dedication to students, a passion for teaching the whole child and a commitment to excellence are all characteristics that Mrs. Mears embodies. However, I think the most telling trait is that she truly cares for her students and strives to meet the needs of the individual while setting high expectations for every child,” said Clausen.
Teacher of the Year winners from each district school are: Amy Absher, Lord Baltimore Elementary; Erin Bullock, Southern Delaware School of the Arts; Karen Coty, Georgetown Middle; Bethany Flood, North Georgetown Elementary; Eileen Gartman, Howard T. Ennis School; David Grise, John M. Clayton Elementary; Christine Hogsten, Phillip C. Showell Elementary; Sarah Johnston, Georgetown Elementary; Laura Marsh, Long Neck Elementary; Shelley McBride, Millsboro Middle; Matthew McCowan, Selbyville Middle; Ashley Rowe, IRSD Early Learning Center; Matthew Selba, Indian River High School; and Alina Wrench, Sussex Central High School.
As the district Teacher of the Year, Mears is now eligible for the state Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in October.