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EDUCATION REPORT - Maryland Educator Is Named National Teacher of the Year

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I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education Report.

A twenty-nine-year-old kindergarten teacher from Maryland has been named National Teacher of the Year. On June first she will begin a year as a national and international spokeswoman for education.

Kimberly Oliver is the first National Teacher of the Year from her state. She teaches five-year-old children at a public school in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. President Bush honored her and other top teachers last week at the White House.

Kimberly Oliver and President Bush on April 26, 2006
Kimberly Oliver and President Bush on April 26, 2006

Kimberly Oliver says she wants people to understand that the first years of a child's life are the most important for learning. She says investing in children at a very young age will result in great gains later in school and in life.

She urges parents to read to children from an early age so they do not fall behind in school. One of the activities at her school is an event called "Books and Supper Night." Families read together at the school and receive free books to take home. Parents, children and teachers also eat dinner together.

Broad Acres Elementary School is in a poor area. Many of the parents are immigrants with limited English. Kimberly Oliver has helped improve learning at her school.

She has received money to buy electronic learning systems, tape players and books in English and Spanish to send home with students. Parents say she has shown them how to help their children at home.

She was born and raised in Delaware. She holds one degree in English and another in elementary education.

Kimberly Oliver will follow in the steps of another teacher from the Washington area as National Teacher of the Year. The current winner, Jason Kamras, was honored for his work teaching math to middle school students in the nation's capital.

The National Teacher of the Year program began in nineteen fifty-two. It is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, with support from the publisher Scholastic and the financial services company ING.

A fourteen-member committee chooses from among teachers honored as the best in their state.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. Read and listen to our reports at www.unsv.com. Now here is a message for teachers:

If you teach with Special English, let us know. Tell us how, and for what ages and subjects. And don't forget to tell us where you are from. Write to special@voanews.com. I'm Steve Ember.

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