CHEYENNE – Valerie Bruce, a first grade teacher at Rozet Elementary School in Campbell County School District #1, has been named Wyoming’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.
State Superintendent Jillian Balow says that Mrs. Bruce builds relationships with her students that will stand the test of time. “Mrs. Bruce understands the power of relationships and fully embraces the opportunity to work, learn, and grow with her students every day. Her classroom is built on trust, hard work, and a growth mindset; and she models what it is to be a lifelong learner.”
Mrs. Bruce has taught at Rozet for nine years, and was inspired to teach by her grandmother, who taught for 42 years. Setting goals and celebrating student growth are everyday occurrences in Mrs. Bruce’s carefully cultivated classroom community. She believes every student can grow and achieve at high levels, and nurturing student self-confidence is her daily goal. Mrs. Bruce fosters a love of reading and learning by engaging her students using various modes of instruction, including technology. Her strategy provides an avenue for all students to convey and demonstrate their understanding and learning in individualized and highly engaging ways. She also organizes “Reading Role Models” to connect her students with the community.
Rozet Elementary School Principal Nate Cassidy says Mrs. Bruce is a master teacher: “She is a vital part of her grade-level collaboration team, constantly examining the work they do, and looking at student data to provide the best opportunity for her students every day.”
As a member of the Olweus Anti-Bullying Program Coordinating Committee, Mrs. Bruce organized “Be a Hero, Not a Bully” spirit days which involved high school athletes serving as role models and sharing how the four anti-bullying rules apply in their lives. She then invited the athletes to visit her classroom and serve as “Reading Role Models” after spirit days.
Mrs. Bruce has worked for the past four years on the first grade STEM team. This team is a collaboration of district educators and faculty from the University of Wyoming, working to embed technology into study units that help bring learning to life. She believes that the rise and evolution of technology impacts every educator and every aspect of student’s lives. She views the change as an opportunity to learn and grow, and has worked to accelerate her capacity and knowledge of how to use technology within the classroom to meet the ever-changing needs of students.
Principal Cassidy added that Mrs. Bruce also focuses on the development of students outside of the classroom by looking after their social and emotional needs. “She sees this as a huge part of developing the whole child, and finds unique and effective ways to tap into getting students to know that she cares about them as people, first and foremost.”
As the 2019 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Bruce will serve as an education ambassador for the state. Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.
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Kari Eakins, Communications Director