the Madeleine Maraldi Awards

for Teaching Excellence

McNair School of Excellence Nominees & Administration

  • Sarah Burton

    With primary grades being the foundation for students, Mrs. Burton is one teacher that ensures student growth and development academically, socially and emotionally with her classroom.  While building character among her students, Mrs. Burton maximizes her instructional time with them in all content areas, especially ELA and Math.  After The EngageAUSL professional development in Washington DC, Mrs. Burton hit the ground running with lesson materials selected and adapted from EngageAUSL/CKLA.  Mrs. Burton is very knowledgeable about  primary learning objectives and how to adapt them to her students’ needs.  Mrs. Burton is the guru of small group instruction. Quickly scaffolding her students, she provides learning experiences for them with daily use of technology that accommodates all learning styles in her class.

    Mrs. Burton is known for getting primary students to grade level before they leave her classroom.  This school year Mrs. Burton had five students to transfer into her classroom below grade level.  As of today 80% of those students are now on grade level, that is four out of five students.  With the use of instructional materials, in combination with data and following small and whole group curricula with fidelity Mrs. Burton’s students SOAR.  As one walks into Mrs. Burton’s classroom, they are WOWED by the expectations that are set for all students: from Do Nows, whole group, small group, exit tickets, transitions and learning centers you are able to witness high quality, intentional instructional practices taking place.

    On a daily basis, you can clearly see how deeply committed Mrs. Burton is to teaching and learning at McNair School of Excellence. Not only is she committed to her students but she shows a commitment to her fellow colleagues.  This year Mrs. Burton agreed to be a Mentor to brand new teachers for the in-house mentoring program.  Mrs. Burton is a leader throughout the school building. Being big on Literacy, Mrs Burton led a literacy night in cooperation with our partnership, City Year.  Using her resourceful skills, she reached out to a book company and was able to receive over 400 books for students and their families. Mrs. Burton leadership skills have enabled her to lead numerous cluster meetings, Benchmark Assessment Systems professional developments, field trips and more.  Having Mrs. Burton on the ILT and CIWP team bring the type of intellect that is needed to improve schools, culturally and instructionally.  She is a teacher that is a catalyst for change throughout the Austin Community.

  • Debinise McField

    As an AUSL residency graduate and highly proficient second year teacher, Ms. McField is committed to ensuring that all students have access to grade-level, rigorous math instruction. Her classroom fosters an unparalleled ‘no excuses’ type of learning environment, which has contributed to her students significantly outperforming the network on all interims this year. To be exact, despite many of her students being identified as below grade level (per NWEA MAP data), her interim average is 22% above the network. She allots time to research, develop and implement rigorous standards-based tasks to deepen her students’ conceptual understanding of math. She is able to use all of the resources at hand - ANET SAS, engageAUSL pacing guide, her knowledge of the standards and EngageNY lessons - to make critical, informed teacher decisions about the learning path for her students. This includes determining best points of entry, scaffolding appropriately without diminishing rigor and inserting proper supports for students to thrive during enrichment tasks. With her exit slip data posted on her door, she holds herself accountable for ensuring student mastery on a daily basis. In addition to being extremely responsive to feedback, she takes the initiative to drive her own growth and development efforts to improve her practice and increase her students’ outcomes. During after school professional development and network Saturday sessions, Ms. McField is always eager to share her instructional practice, as well as learn from other colleagues around the best instructional delivery for engageAUSL materials. In addition to her role within the classroom, she is able to find time to contribute to the collective school community.  Ms. McField is an active participant on the Attendance Team that has contributed to an approximate 5% increase in attendance since turnaround, CIWP Team member, active voice on ILT, network PLT lead and served as the girls’ basketball coach for the past two years.

  • Terina Woolridge

    Committed to the Middle School Students at McNair School of Excellence, Ms. Woolridge consistently provides opportunities for them to access grade-level text.  Along with learning about ANET, ELA instruction and using what she learned from the EngageNY Professional Development in Washington DC, Ms. Woolridge constantly works to improves her instructional practices.  During weekly cluster meetings or on a daily basis, Ms. Woolridge is always prepared to share her practices with her colleagues, whether it’s through an observation or meeting facilitation. Ms. Woolridge meets with Administration weekly to analyze data and to discuss next steps to her instructional approach. Because of her preparedness and high expectations, the eighth graders outperform the network by 10% on average during Interim Assessments.  As the eighth grade ELA teacher, Ms. Woolridge takes the lead on all of their affairs. From leading fund raisers, 8th grade trips, luncheons, ribbon pinning, to graduation performances, Ms. Woolridge manages it all gracefully. She grooms the students to be the best.  Ms. Woolridge is a teacher leader at McNair. She serves on the ILT, PLT, and CIWP Teams, giving strong advice as to plans for the school as a whole.  Ms. Woolridge is also a mentor to brand new teachers in the program provided by the school.  Ms. Woolridge collaborates with her mentees to implement observation times and provides timely feedback to those teachers. Ms. Woolridge’s commitment to teaching and learning has shown through her providing afterschool and even Saturday school instruction to students in need. Although Ms. Woolridge is a veteran teacher, she continues to gain knowledge however she can.  Being coachable and reflective about teaching and learning and the school’s culture and climate, Ms. Woolridge’s commitment is impeccable. Serving ten years at McNair School of Excellence, there before the turn-around process began, Ms. Woolridge is a significant part of the greatness that takes place inside and outside of the school building.

  • Rebecca Johnson

    Ms. Johnson is the epitome of teaching with high expectations coupled with high levels of support. As a second year diverse learner teacher in the low-incidence cluster program, Ms. Johnson takes every opportunity to empower her students, increase their content knowledge, and foster their independence. She is able to reach all of her students across the spectrum of moderate intellectual disabilities through the use of standards-based modified curricula, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and individualized accommodations/supports. As a result of not only her ability to effectively manage her students but the adults as well, her classroom operates in a strategic small group rotation to deliver the core content according to students’ ability levels. Having mastered the trait of being warm-strict, she ensures that every instructional minute is maximized while still finding the time to incorporate festive cooking lessons within the classroom. After her impressive work with the previously assigned Instructional Practices Administrator (IPA) and her evident desire to become more of an expert in systematic literacy instruction, she was nominated to participate in the training to become a Wilson Reading System (WRS) Level I certified instructor being offered by the district to a select few. In addition to this opportunity for professional growth and development, she has sought out other ways to broaden her knowledge and effectiveness by being trained on ABA Therapy and Community Based Instruction. As further testament to her leadership ability, Ms. Johnson served as a mentor in the school-based mentoring program and hosted this year’s cohort of AUSL DL residents over the course of two weeks. She co-plans, assists with organizing and presents at weekly cluster meetings to provide continuous support to other teachers within the team. Her active role in creating, designing and physically assembling a sensory room that is now an accessible resource to the entire school speaks to her willingness to go above and beyond for all of the students at McNair.

  • Valencia Koker, Principal

    McNair is the model of building and sustaining a premier professional learning environment, resulting in high quality teaching practices and continuous student growth.  The McNair team has developed the organizational capacity by building school-wide structures and systems specifically geared towards adult and student learning. Under the dynamic leadership of Principal Koker, she has developed trusting relationships with her staff; created the conditions for shared responsibility, openness, deep reflection, and a call to action.   Due to Principal Koker's intentional work in preparing herself and her leadership team, she is now developing teachers to strengthen McNair's overall instruction and deepen the instructional expertise across the school. The four educators nominated are all teachers you would want teaching your biological child!  The teachers nominated will continue to be instrumental in providing professional development to their peers, using their classrooms as learning laboratories while remaining reflective as they continue to strengthen their own practice! The professional learning culture of high expectations and continuous improvement is infectious at McNair, resulting in shared practice, continuous growth, and developing expertise and opinions about student data to further guide areas of professional growth while highlighting strengths and trends!  McNair embodies the excellence in teaching and learning that Madeline Maraldi exemplified through her life and legacy.  Congratulations, McNair!!