Formula for success

Ferguson first SHS math teacher to win Teacher of the Year

Lyndsay Valadez, Reporter

Madelyn Knight
2016-17 Teacher of the Year Christina Ferguson

Taking sophomore Ruth Escalon under her wing, 15 year math teacher and NHS sponsor Christina Ferguson encouraged and assisted Escalon to improve her performance not only in math, but the rest of her school subjects. Ferguson would pull her out of class to make sure she was okay after noticing her absence in class for a few days. While Escalon was having personal issues, she was not doing as well as she could have in the beginning of the school year. But, she has recently noticed more discipline and focus   in herself.

This year, Ferguson was announced as the teacher of the year (TOTY.) Principal Brian Knight announced this shortly after the committee of past Teachers of the Year completed rounds of voting, and Ferguson came out to be the chosen one of five other nominees.

“I was very humbled, very grateful and very honored,” Ferguson said.”

Co-math department chair Jack Williams is the one who nominated her and says she’s been deserving of this recognition for a long time. He also feels that the math department along with the himself will celebrate this with her as Ferguson is the first math teacher to ever become TOTY at SHS. He believes that in some ways, she has overcome a stigma related to the subject, math, which he says has a lot to do with the fact that many students view it as not doable  and unenjoyable.

“(Ferguson) is always willing to listen to not just her colleagues but her students also,” Williams said. “She’s incredibly receptive.”

Escalon is one of the students who connects with Ferguson differently than with her other teachers, which is partly because of the effort she gives back to her students. For Escalon, Ferguson is a person she can learn from and talk with when in need of someone. Being there for students is something Ferguson finds important to the aspect of teaching. She says she “strives to be a positive influence” to her students by pushing them farther than they are and hopes that they can carry that over into their own lives.

Escalon attends almost every one of Ferguson’s iPass sessions as well as many of her before and after-school meetings with students, which she facilitates on her own. However, Escalon says she would not attend these or do as well in her classes without the care and encouragement directed towards her from Ferguson.

“I think she knows (that) she knows how to teach,” Escalon said. “But, I don’t think she knows the impact (she has) on others.”

Williams, though, does acknowledge the influences Ferguson has had on both teachers and students. He says she is always teaching bell to bell and in class, her students rise to the high expectations she holds. He also says that she is not just willing to share ideas and advice with other colleagues on lessons, and really any topic. A lot of these “behind-the-scenes” actions that would otherwise go unnoticed are what Knight says really makes her a stand-out candidate.

“She’s a quiet leader that does exactly what she’s supposed to do every day,” Knight said.