Gov. John Carney has appointed former State Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner and high school student Elise Sampson to serve on the State Board of Education. Turner was Delaware’s 2017 State Teacher of the Year and Sampson is a current Smyrna High School student.
“Students and educators always deserve a seat at the table when we’re making decisions about Delaware schools,” Carney said in a press release. “I appreciate the willingness of Wendy and Elise to serve in these important roles. I look forward to the great work they will do on behalf of all Delawareans.”
Each appointee will be only the second person to serve in their respective roles since 2018. Legislation signed into law allowed the governor to annually appoint to the board an 11th or 12th grade student and former State Teacher of the Year who also is a current educator to serve as nonvoting members.
Turner is a second-grade teacher at Brandywine School District’s Mount Pleasant Elementary School. She earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from Boston College and after working in the business world she returned to school at Wilmington University to earn her master’s degree in education. In 2016, she earned the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for her science instruction, and in 2019, she was named a National Education Association Global Learning Fellow to South Africa. That same year she also was honored by the Governor’s Office as a Compassionate Champion for her work supporting social emotional learning.
Elise founded the Black Student Union at Smyrna High School, where she has served as class president, student ambassador and a Student Government Association member. She was selected for the Governor’s School of Excellence for 2020. She also is active in musical groups and nonprofit organizations that give her opportunities to volunteer in her community.
“We are very excited to welcome Wendy and Elise as our new board members. We learned firsthand the value of a student and current teacher in our classrooms sitting at the table with us last year. Their unique perspective is even more valuable as we face unprecedented challenges in making sure we meet the needs of all students in the current environment.” said State Board of Education President Whitney Sweeney.