Two Waukee Middle School Teachers Nominated for My Favorite Teacher Contest

Waukee Middle School (WMS) teachers Erin Cavazos and Mary Crandell were nominated by WMS students and honored at the Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher contest on April 16.

Middle and high school students could write an essay, poem or thank you letter sharing how a teacher influenced their life and revealing why they appreciate and admire them. Entries were judged on the compelling nature of the teacher’s qualities, the sincerity of the student’s appreciation and the quality of expression and writing.

Cavazos has taught 8th Grade Language Arts at WMS for four years. She was nominated in an essay by Olivia Husk, a student in her Advanced Language Arts course.

“There are two types of teachers: those who do their job, and those who go above and beyond, like Mrs. Cavazos. She wants us all to enjoy the class and take away as much as we can. She has always been there when I have needed help,” Husk said.

“My biggest hope for my students is that they will become successful, independent individuals who make a positive impact on the world around them. I tell my students each year that I fully believe each and every one of them has the power to change the world, and my goal as an educator is to help them realize this power and embrace it,” Cavazos said.

Crandell teaches 7th and 8th Grade Band at WMS, where she has taught for eleven years. When 7th grader Rei McCormick read about the opportunity to nominate a teacher, she decided to submit a poem nominating Crandell, who asked her to move up to the 7th grade Jazz Band as a 6th grader. Crandell knew that McCormick would be responsible in learning her part and positively contribute to the group’s success. McCormick plays trumpet/french horn and is beginning to play drum set.

“Mrs. Crandell is a great teacher and an amazing person! She pushes me to do things that are out of my comfort zone but that I am still able to do. She makes me smile and always puts others before herself,” McCormick said.

“I hope that my students can see the passion I have for teaching music and that they, too, can find their own passion for something in their own life. I hope that music will always be a positive part of their lives and that they will appreciate the time that we shared in rehearsals and lessons. I hope that my students will utilize the strengths that music can provide for them in all aspects of their lives,” Crandell said.

The students who nominated their teachers were asked to read their entries to the audience. Crandell was announced as the grand prize winner and McCormick’s poem is moving on to the regional level of the contest.

“I am humbled by Rei’s poem. Her insight and creativity brought me to tears when she read it aloud at the awards ceremony. I can only hope that my students will be touched in some way, as Rei has been, through their experience in the WMS band room. This only makes me want to become a better and more diverse teacher in the field of instrumental music,” Crandell said.

Five winners will be chosen at the regional competition. From the pool of five regional winners, Barnes & Noble will select one teacher to be the Barnes & Noble National Teacher of the Year.

560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
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