Summer Institute Hosts Teachers of the Year

Mystic Seaport invited the educators for three-days of professional development.
Several participants in the 2015 Connecticut Teacher of the Year summer institute try their hand at rowing a whaleboat. Photo courtesy of Sarah Cahill
Several participants in the 2015 Connecticut Teacher of the Year summer institute try their hand at rowing a whaleboat. Photo courtesy of Sarah Cahill

From August 5-7, Mystic Seaport, with support from the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council, hosted the second-annual summer institute for this year’s Teachers of the Year.This professional development opportunity at the Museum enabled 14 educators to spend three days learning about maritime history and science from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Participants learned how to utilize the Museum and its collections in their classrooms through active participation and interaction with a variety of staff members, hands-on activities, primary source workshops, and guided exploration of the exhibits and grounds of Mystic Seaport.

“This institute is a great way for us to connect educators with the resources of the Museum and our collections and help all of us figure out new ways to incorporate maritime heritage into their lesson plans,” said Sarah Cahill, the Director of Education at Mystic Seaport.

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952, sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Education (CSDE) as a way to recognize and honor teacher excellence. According to the Department, this award does not attempt to identify the “best” teacher, but rather an educator who will “serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession.”

Cara Quinn, a sixth-grade teacher at Sunset Ridge School in East Hartford, is the recipient of the 2015 Connecticut Teacher of Year Award. Through a rigorous selection process, Quinn was selected from among four finalists, 15 semifinalists, and over 100 district-level Teachers of the Year to represent the State of Connecticut’s educational system on a national level. Quinn has distinguished herself as an educator who strives to help children in need, committing herself to closing the achievement gap.

“I draw my inspiration for teaching by watching my students embrace these concepts and ideas. Their enthusiasm for learning, care for one another and quest to maximize their potential is what invigorates me and solidifies my commitment to teaching,” Mrs. Quinn said in a CSDE press release. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to make a positive contribution in our world each day through the work that I so dearly love.”

Quinn, along with 13 other finalists who were invited to attend the institute, will be using the vibrant history of Mystic Seaport as a means to expand their horizons as educators, and the minds of their students. Through the Museum’s two-million historical artifacts, programs, and educational opportunities, Mystic Seaport is pleased to help foster education and growth in Connecticut’s schools.