As always, the fourth annual Teacher of the Year Awards are open to educators from all of Bucks County. This year, however, all three final nominees are from Lower Bucks.
The nominees are Alexander Doman from Bucks County Technical High School in Fairless Hills, Michael Hogan from Pennwood Middle School in Pennsbury School District, and Nicky Pennepacker from Truman High School in Bristol Township School District.
The award is sponsored by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 and Inspire Federal Credit Union, which was originally founded by teachers before opening up to anyone who lives, worships, works or goes to school in Bucks.
“We were very much involved with the educational community,” said Kyrus Keenan, relationship manager for the credit union. “This way, we still have those strong ties with schools, teachers and administrators.”
Students, parents and fellow teachers can nominate any full-time teacher in the county, and must write about why they nominated that person. A round of public voting yields the final three nominees.
A judging panel of credit union board members and executive team members, along with members of the Bucks Intermediate Unit, will then consider each nominee and announce the winner at the credit union’s annual member’s meeting on April 21.
The winning teacher receives $2,500, and $1,000 is donated to their school. The runners-up each receive $1,000, and their schools receive $500 each.
A teacher at Bucks County Technical High School for 25 years, Alexander Doman was instrumental in creating the SEPTA Techtricians Program 20 years ago. The program places, on average, two students per year in careers working for the SEPTA rail systems and rail cars.
Doman focuses on getting many students job-ready, but also to prepare others for collegiate tracks. He’s proud to say several students are accepted to engineering programs at schools including Drexel University and Rochester Institute of Technology.
On being nominated: “I was amazed and humbled. I know quite a few of the teachers that were nominated and I wonder how they didn’t make it to the top three.”
Michael Hogan has focused on character education during five years at Pennwood Middle School. His programs promote citizenship, respect and good behavior and help develop good-character citizens for a democratic, multicultural society.
Thanks in part to his efforts, Pennwood has been named a No Place For Hate School for three years running. Last year, the school was named a State School of Character and National School of Character.
On being nominated: “I was really thrilled, and then to find out that students and friends pushed me through was extremely humbling.”
Now in her ninth year at Truman High School, Nicky Pennepacker has taken on a new role as the senior class adviser. After also teaching 10th- and 11th-grade English, she considers this one of the best experiences in teaching.
For Pennepacker, the position allows her to interact with students in activities that aren’t necessarily school-related. It allows both the students and teachers to see each other in a different, more personal light.
On being nominated: “It’s a milestone, and it’s great to know a student nominated you. We don’t really know how we impacted the kids until much later, if we ever know.” Φ