An icon on a piece of lined paper with a stars, a gold trophy, and a red apple for Teacher of the Year.

Introducing Our Teacher of the Year Winners

Congratulations to all of the Teacher of the Year nominees and winners! Read more about the 12 regional winners and find out who won the grand prize.

  • We received hundreds of Teacher of the Year Award nominations and are honored to have such amazing teachers as part of the Goddard Family. The submissions came from parents, teachers, owners and directors and each one was just as special as the last. Narrowing down submissions was extremely difficult, and we truly believe that every single teacher nominated is a winner. In fact, all Goddard School teachers deserve recognition and appreciation because they are what makes each School extraordinary.

    Congratulations to all of our Teacher of the Year nominees and winners! We appreciate everything you do for the children in your care and are so grateful that you’re part of the Goddard family!

Congratulations to Our 2021 Grand-Prize Teacher of the Year Winner!

A women in a floral shirt stands in front of a Goddard logo.

Ms. Hallie

McKinney  (Craig Ranch), TX | Toddler Room

Ms. Hallie is deeply loved and trusted by the children and families she serves, and everyone who meets her sees how much she treasures teaching. Ms. Hallie brings a unique passion to the classroom and never underestimates what her young learners are capable of accomplishing. She is dedicated to implementing age-appropriate lesson plans that are tailored to the individual needs of students – fully embracing an emergent curriculum.  

Ms. Hallie effortlessly creates strong connections with families and is gifted at making children feel safe when they enter her classroom. As families return or new families join her classroom, she makes them feel welcome, loved and comfortable with their child’s early childhood learning journey.

Eastern Region Winners

Ms. Brittany 

Matthews,  NC | Infant Room 

Ms. Brittany is cherished by families, School leadership and fellow teachers for being nurturing, warm and reassuring. First-time parents who were nervous about enrolling their children in School during a pandemic were immediately put at ease upon meeting Ms. Brittany. She builds a strong foundation with families by asking questions, learning every detail about their babies and providing resources and support to new families. She is genuine, kind and comforting and she makes space in her heart for every baby. She dedicates her time and energy every day, every hour to every child. Ms. Brittany has become part of so many families and she will be remembered for a lifetime! 

Joanne Shultz, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Joanne

Wyomissing,  PA | Toddler Room 

Ms. Joanne is an effervescent, dedicated teacher who loves learning as much as teaching! She creates fun, hands-on learning experiences for her students complete with characters she becomes! During the pandemic, Ms. Joanne created a daily teaching video that was shared with the entire School so that children could keep learning at home. In these videos she played an entomologist, a paleontologist, a pirate and a scuba diver. Back in the classroom, she is always on the children’s level interacting with them, asking open ended questions that lead to further learning. She explores with her students as they learn, grow and become kind, independent, healthy students.

, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Jen

Wilton, CT | Preschool/Pre-K 

Ms. Jen has been described as a confident, creative and adaptive teacher. She knows language, literacy and child thought, and she brings all her lessons to life for her students. Most importantly, she makes children feel at ease, which is one of the most important parts of learning. She maintained this sense of ease during the pandemic as she worked closely with the School’s management team to design and implement adaptive curriculum to the emerging education challenges and to help prevent learning loss. She delivered live classroom virtual instruction, which quickly became known to everyone at the School as Ms. Jen at 10.

Megan Jones, , a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Megan

Auburn,  MA | Kindergarten/School-Age

Ms. Megan is known as a knowledgeable, patient and friendly teacher. She fosters an environment where every child feels loved, valued and heard because she allows her students to use their burgeoning autonomy to learn and grow. She develops creative lesson plans and incorporates world cultures into many of them. Ms. Megan is also involved in philanthropic efforts and will apply for a grant for an indoor/outdoor garden tower. The kindergarteners will learn important STEAM concepts as they grow fruits, vegetables and herbs all year. And they will discover the importance of helping your community when they donate the fresh produce to families at a local youth and family center.

Central Region Winners

Ms. Emily 

Westerville (Executive Parkway),  OH | Infant Room 

Families can’t say enough wonderful things about Ms. Emily! Ms. Emily has a spectacular ability to put all families at ease about the safety of their children in her care. She meets families outside every day to help ensure that they feel truly connected to her. She provides consistent, open and honest communication and provides fantastic, at-home activities to help bridge the School-home connection. Ms. Emily also takes early childhood education and development seriously so she’s always creating fun and unique lesson plans that incorporate fine motor, sensory, gross motor and cognitive development skills. Ms. Emily truly is a model teacher who parents and children love!

Five women stand in a hallway cheering for the 2021 teacher of the year finalist Debbie Springer.

Ms. Deborah

Skokie, IL | Toddler Room

Ms. Deborah’s virtual meet and greets have made lasting impressions on the families she serves. Ms. Deborah takes time to meet with every family and sends out weekly emails to help create a strong bond between home and school. And the children in her class make sure that their entire families know how much they love their teacher! While Ms. Deborah works hard to ensure that families feel connected to her and her classroom, she also helps her student learn and grow with fun, hands-on educational activities that support crucial social interactions. She helped create a sense of normalcy within the classroom, which children and their families crave.

John Lethenstrom, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Mr. John

Westerville (Polaris), OH | Preschool/Pre-K 

Families and School leadership are truly amazed at how Mr. John has helped children learn, grow and develop for more than 15 years. He expertly adapts all lessons to meet the needs of each child in his class. He uses his love of sports to connect with children and get them excited about learning. He also incorporates a love of animals into his lessons. Every fall, children learn about hibernation and bring in stuffed animals from home to create a den and watch them all winter. This love of animals has turned into a service project! Mr. John and his students collect and donate lots of goodies for animals at local shelters. Mr. John is a creative, empathetic and encouraging teacher who has a whole lot of adoring fans!

Maria Auricchio, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Maria

Beavercreek, OH | Kindergarten/School-Age 

Ms. Maria is a remarkable teacher with a knack for creativity. She finds interesting topics that apply across all educational disciplines and teaches them in an engaging way that piques her students’ curiosity to learn more. Fostering a sense of joy in the learning process and wanting to be at school is the greatest gift a teacher can impart on students, and parents unanimously agree that Ms. Maria excels at this. She is also keenly aware that children today are part of an interconnected and fast-paced world and her lessons and teaching style provide her students with a firm foundation for becoming confident and principled global citizens. Families are beyond grateful for Ms. Maria and all she does for their children.

Western Region Winners

Jamie Crea, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Jamie

Parker, CO | Infant Room

Ms. Jamie is a compassionate, inquisitive teacher whose resourcefulness and enthusiasm creates lasting impressions on the children and families she serves. Ms. Jamie goes above and beyond for her little learners by pushing the boundaries of infant curriculum to help them thrive. She started a crawling club to encourage little ones to crawl behind her!

Ms. Jamie doesn’t stop supporting her students when they age out of her classroom. She checks in on former students, offers helpful tips and advice to their new teachers and always follows up with families to see how the transition process is going. She has been called a co-parent and “mom away from mom,” which speaks to her commitment to care.

A women in a floral shirt stands in front of a Goddard logo.

Ms. Hallie

McKinney  (Craig Ranch), TX | Toddler Room

Ms. Hallie is deeply loved and trusted by the children and families she serves, and everyone who meets her sees how much she treasures teaching. Ms. Hallie brings a unique passion to the classroom and never underestimates what her young learners are capable of accomplishing. She is dedicated to implementing age-appropriate lesson plans that are tailored to the individual needs of students – fully embracing an emergent curriculum.  

Ms. Hallie effortlessly creates strong connections with families and is gifted at making children feel safe when they enter her classroom. As families return or new families join her classroom, she makes them feel welcome, loved and comfortable with their child’s early childhood learning journey.

Nelsy Milne, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Nelsy

Cypress, TX | Preschool/Pre-K Classroom 

Ms. Nelsy is a patient, kind, nurturing teacher who can keep a large classroom of students engaged thanks to her steadfast commitment to providing a quality learning environment. She is an empathetic teacher who knows how to help her students manage their emotions as they go through social and emotional developmental milestones.

Ms. Nelsy builds a foundational partnership with parents to ensure that they are informed and included in their children’s growth and education. She leaves such a lasting impression on children that they still ask about her years later. Ms. Nelsy is truly loved by children and parents alike.

Whitney Roesch, a finalist for the Goddard 2021 Teacher of the Year award.

Ms. Whitney

Portland, OR | Kindergarten/School Age 

Ms. Whitney is as an amazing, hard-working teacher who goes above and beyond for her students, families and the School. When the pandemic hit, Ms. Whitney didn’t skip a beat. She put together take-home bags for all age groups and developed curriculum for at-home learning. She hosted daily virtual calls for children who were at home and put together activities for parents to pick up each day.  

Ms. Whitney is dedicated to ensuring that her students excel outside of her classroom, too. She researched and gathered all necessary documents and curriculum support tools so that her Kindergarten program aligns with the local school district’s benchmarks and goals. She has already sent home the first progress reports and her students are progressing beautifully!

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