Butler earns title as Shelton’s top teacher
SHELTON — Christine Butler, long recognized for helping develop the schools’ Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages — TESOL— program, is being honored as the district’s top teacher.
Butler, a member of the TESOL program for five years who works at Elizabeth Shelton School, was presented Monday with a bouquet of flowers and a sign announcing her 2020 Teacher of the Year.
"This recognition is a small testament to the amazing teacher Christine Butler is,” said interim Superintendent Beth Smith. “I have seen her deliver lessons and have had the privilege of being present as she represented the district delivering professional learning across the country.
“She is loved and respected by the students, staff and administration in our district. The impact that Christine has had on her students will last a lifetime. She is truly deserving of this honor,” added Smith.
Butler has been integral in building the TESOL department, Smith said, and working with the district’s federal grant, Project Excel.
Elizabeth Shelton School Principal Beverly Belden said Butler’s lessons are engaging and creative, whether she is teaching it through technology or dressed as if she is taking the students on a safari.
“Christine is truly deserving of this honor,” said Belden. “She has a unique ability to capture students' attention. In her TESOL role, Christine has guided our Excel team and staff to support of English Language Learners and their families as well as promoting cultural diversity in the Elizabeth Shelton School community.”
“Christine Butler is an amazing educator,” said Victoria White, supervisor of teaching and learning. “She is innovative, collaborative, dedicated and an absolute joy to work with. She is continuously learning new skills and strategies to improve her craft and share her experiences with others.”
White said that Butler, in addition to being a charismatic professional learning presenter within the district, has presented across the country at major conferences.
As a finalist for the award, Butler shared a lesson with the selection committee. Her comments focused on a lesson about other countries and cultures that exploded into a school-wide celebration of diversity.
"It started with holidays,” recalled Butler. “I did a lesson in one classroom. A lesson in another. It caught on! The kids were hungry for more. With support from staff, I began to ‘tour’ the school creating and delivering lessons about different customs and traditions. Now, an increasingly large part of my job is to bring a little bit of the world into each classroom.”
The diversity lesson, according to Butler, continues to evolve.
“ESS teachers and I have collaborated on lessons to promote awareness and acceptance of skin color, diverse families … multiracial, blended, same gender ... transgender, physical disabilities, learning disabilities … the list keeps growing,” said Butler.
“I believe student empowerment, and consequently positive academic and social emotional outcomes at every age, come from students believing that they matter and that others do, too,” added Butler. “My work is my way of making sure each student at ESS hears, sees and feels this message.”
In her nominations for the award, Butler’s colleagues Dan Ebert and Jeannine Quick said since Butler joined Elizabeth Shelton School, both students and staff have been positively affected by the knowledge and energy she generously shares.
The pair stated that Butler's enthusiasm is infectious. In working collaboratively, they said, she has a way of making coworkers feel valued, and her delivery of instruction to both students and staff is inspiring.
“To say she goes above and beyond every day would be an understatement,” said fellow teacher Heather Brown.
“Every time Mrs. Butler makes an appearance, students immediately have a smile on their face,” added Brown. “Her purple suitcase she carries with her reveals the mystery of that day’s lesson. Her ability to capture students' attention is remarkable. Watching her teach inspires me to try something new every time. Mrs. Butler is the definition of a team player.”