By TAYLOR HARTZ
First grade students at Plantsville Elementary School (PES) have had the pleasure of being taught by the best teacher in town, Christina McKirryher.
Southington Public Schools announced on June 9 that McKirryher, who has been teaching first grade at PES since 2001, is Southington’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year. She will be recognized at the Staff Convocation on Aug. 29, and at a reception prior to the Sept. 22 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.
A resident of Naugatuck, McKirryher began her teaching career in 2009 when she was hired as a literacy tutor at Strong Elementary School. A year later, she was appointed as a kindergarten teacher at PES, and was assigned as a first grade teacher in 2011.
“[McKirryher] believes that every child deserves to learn in an environment that focuses on student achievement and meeting the needs of every child,” said Superintendent of Southington Public Schools Timothy Connellan in a press release.
“She’s an excellent example of great teaching in Southington,” said PES Principal Stephen Bergin, who has worked with her for two years. “Her practice of instruction is at a high level of rigor.”
Outside the classroom, the kindergarten teacher serves as the Southington’s Townwide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS) building representative for PES, and founded the S.T.A.R.S. program to recognize students for their character traits.
She is a member of the Scientific Research-Based Intervention committee, the Responsive Classroom Committee, and the School Safety and Security Committee. McKirryher also helps to organize the “Taste of Plantsville” cultural night, literacy nights for kindergarten through second grade, a “Read Across America” day, and multiple field trips.
“She develops outstanding relationships with everyone she works with,” said Bergin, including students, co-workers, administrators, and parents.
McKirryher earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut in 2007, and her master’s degree in elementary education and business education from the University of Bridgeport in 2008. She is currently working toward a sixth year degree in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University.
“She goes out of her way in the school and in the community,” said Bergin. “She absolutely deserves the award and we are very proud.”