November 09, 2004
"Ronnie exemplifies what is great about teachers in Alaska, and he is going to be an outstanding Teacher of the Year," Sampson said. "He focuses on the unique qualities of each student and builds on their strengths so that each child can maximize their potential. His outstanding reputation among his students, peers and the community shows he has the ability to represent the entire Alaskan education community at a national level."
Rita Davis, a special education primary teacher at Swanson Elementary School in Palmer, with 30 years of teaching experience, was appointed 2005 Alternate Alaska Teacher of the Year.
Stanford earned his bachelor degree from the Texas A&M University at Commerce in 1983. He has taken continuing education courses from the University of Alaska and Illisagvik College and is currently working on a Masters of Reading and Literacy from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Stanford has taught instrumental music at Barrow High School and Hopson Middle School since 1995. Before moving to Alaska, Stanford also taught music at the middle and high school level in Texas for eleven years.
The Barrow High School Band has received numerous awards over the past nine years in national, regional, and state competitions under the direction of Mr. Stanford. In 2004, the Barrow High School Band received a superior rating at the Chicago Music Festival and 1st place for the Spirit of Chicago Award for the group that best represents its community and state. In 2003, they received a superior rating at the Orlando Music Festival, competing against schools with over 4,500 students, and also received 1st place for the Spirit of Orlando Award for the group that best represents its community and state. They also received a superior rating in 2002 at the San Francisco Music Festival.
Stanford believes strongly that every student can learn. Realistic goals, immediate feedback, hard work and positive attitude, is critical to student success. As soon as one goal is reached another needs to be set, raising expectations each time. He tells his students, "we may not have control over other people's expectations, but we ultimately have control over our own expectations." Students need to set high standards for themselves and reach to meet them. He believes that a teacher needs to take every child's success, no matter how small or large, and build upon it.
Stanford believes that the increased pressure on schools for high stakes testing and limited resources impacts the availability of elective courses such as the arts, vocational programs foreign language and other areas. He feels strongly that these elective classes are tying together the fundamentals learned in reading, writing and math and allow students to make direct connections to the outside world. "All subjects can benefit students as they master reading, writing and math", he stated in his application for the 2005 Teacher of the Year. "We must educate the whole child. I believe the final result will be life-long learners that can be highly productive members of the community."
Commissioner Sampson will enter Stanford as the Alaska candidate for the 2005 National Teacher of the Year competition in Washington, D.C. A statewide selection committee appointed by Commissioner Sampson recommended Stanford from a field of five finalists. Members of the committee were Debra Mullins, President of the Alaska Association of School Boards; Bill Watkins, Representative from the Alaska Council of School Administrators; Bill Bjork, President of NEA-Alaska; and Kathie Steele the 2004 Alaska Teacher of the Year.
The Alaska Teacher of the Year's term begins January 1, 2005.
Source of News & Photograph: