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York College names first alumni educators of the year

Addalyn Dohm presents to a group of future educators.

Two York County educators are the winners of York College of Pennsylvania’s first Educator of the Year awards, a newly created honor designed to recognize the work of York College Education alumni and to inspire students to enter the teaching profession.

“We want to recognize York College graduates who are doing great things in education and share their ideas and tips with future teachers at upcoming teacher forums for high school juniors and seniors,” says Chrystine Mitchell, PhD, Associate Professor of Elementary Education at York College, who serves on the committee that chose the winners.

Melissa Appnel, an administrator in the West York Area School District and a 2003 York College graduate, is the undergraduate award-winner. Addalyn Dohm, a second-grade teacher in the Dallastown School District who completed graduate school work in York College’s Reading Specialist Program in 2018, is the graduate award-winner.

“Melissa Appnel is being recognized for her strong commitment to, but also for giving back in terms of sharing her knowledge with other teachers and here at York College,” Professor Mitchell states. “She advances her own professional life as well as those of the students and teachers who come in contact with her. She has demonstrated herself as a lifelong educator, and she has provided leadership within and beyond her own district.”

According to Professor Mitchell, “Addalyn Dohm was nominated by her former student teacher for the good things she saw her cooperating teacher do. She is a teacher-leader among her peers, helps with professional development, and brings to work each day her creativity and her need for continuing self-improvement as a professional.”

Criteria for awards

York College established the following criteria for the Teacher of the Year awards:

  • Advancement of knowledge through research, teaching, publications, or technology as it relates to the field of education
  • Commitment to dynamic, high-quality educational practice in the classroom, school site, or district as a teacher, principal, or district leader
  • Innovation in addressing a timely issue or challenge in education
  • Dedication to underserved student populations
  • Leadership in educational policy at the local, state, federal, or international level

Educators must apply for these awards and receive a letter of recommendation from an education peer to be considered. Teacher of the Year winners each receive a recognition plaque and a $500 cash award.

Inspiring the next generation

The Teacher of the Year awards were presented and winners gave the keynote addresses at two Future Educator Forums, held October 2 and 3 at York College. Professor Mitchell says York College launched these forums last year, and they were very successful.

More than 100 students are attending, from throughout York County, Pennsylvania, and from other states. “The message we hope these outstanding educators will give students is that teaching is a challenging job, that these successful teachers spend a lot of time and energy, and that they will transmit the passion they have,” Professor Mitchell says. “The financial gain may not be tremendous, but what they get through influencing the lives of others can’t be measured. Our award-winners, we believe, will give a positive message about the teaching profession.”

By having students hear from successful alumni, York College also hopes to raise awareness of, and interest in, the education curriculum it offers through these forums. “Students attending these forums have lunch with York College faculty, where they can discuss the teaching profession and ask questions,” Professor Mitchell says. “A guidance counselor or school professional must attend the forum with each student, and we debrief these counselors on how we can better serve the students following the forums.”