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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Citywide Teacher of the Year

Karen Drosinos

2011 Citywide Teacher of the Year
Karen Drosinos

Karen Drosinos Named 2011 Virginia Region II Teacher of the Year

Karen Drosinos, an extended day kindergarten teacher at Pembroke Elementary, was named the 2011 Virginia Beach City Public Schools Citywide Teacher of the Year. In a surprise visit made to her classroom, Superintendent James G. Merrill and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christine Caskey made the announcement and presented her with an engraved school bell and other congratulatory gifts.

Chosen from an initial pool of 88 teachers representing their schools, Drosinos was one of 10 semi-finalists selected to receive classroom visits by the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The field was further narrowed when five finalists were individually interviewed by the Committee. According to Selection Committee Chairperson Jeanne Crocker, who serves as the Lead Director for Elementary Education in the Department of School Administration, each of the finalists was an outstanding, creative teacher. However, Drosinos was noteworthy in her ability to create a “magical classroom” in which all students receive the attention and tailored instruction they need in terms of ability and interest to thrive as independent learners. She regularly prepares a variety of learning centers in the classroom that are engaging, interesting, and fun for the students, offering them multiple opportunities to explore their ever-changing world. Using data she collects daily on her students’ progress, she plans challenging activities to meet the needs of each child, taking into account their preferred learning styles whether visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic.  As a co-worker points out, Drosinos’s disciplined teaching style is “learning disguised as play.” She has incorporated her teaching of the alphabet with American Sign Language, for example, and as the children learn more and more words, they also find themselves “signing” the spelling.

Drosinos believes that teaching is a “privilege” and that each day she has another opportunity to discover the “ability, potential, and uniqueness within each child.” With this in mind, she works to develop learning experiences for her students that support their areas of weaknesses by targeting their strengths through differentiated learning tasks and cooperative learning opportunities. To this end, Drosinos enthusiastically embraces professional development and is currently engaged in earning her National Board Certification in early childhood education. She also works to share her expertise, experience, and knowledge with fellow educators, serving as her school’s Lead Mentor, providing ongoing staff development for both new teachers and their mentors. According to her principal Linda Hayes, Drosinos’ “talents became known throughout the school and spread to the division. She now provides divisionwide staff development for teachers and teacher assistants.” In fact, Drosinos was selected as a model teacher to be videotaped during the first week of school because teachers wanted to observe how an effective teacher was able to take a class of untrained students and within one week, “shape behaviors and establish classroom routines that allowed the teacher to teach without procedural interruptions.” The videotape is now in the division’s professional library available for all teachers to view.

Drosinos is a 12-year veteran teacher, with three of those years dedicated to Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Pembroke Elementary School. She is an inveterate presenter who is much in demand as a facilitator, cooperating teacher, and instructor. At the same time, as the wife of an active-duty Naval officer, she is involved with the military community, working with readiness support groups for spouses during times of deployment. It is because of this specialized experience that she is particularly sensitive to the needs of students whose parents are deployed.

Drosinos holds a Bachelor of Science in Kindergarten and Elementary Education from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland at College Park.

For more information about Karen Drosinos or the 2011 Virginia Beach Schools Teacher of the Year program, please contact the Office of the Deputy Superintendent at 757.263.1390.

 


Last Modified on Thursday, May 4, 2017