The St. Thomas-St. John District named Michaelrose Ravalier the 2020 Teacher of the Year at an Oct. 6th luncheon held at Victor’s New Hideout restaurant on St. Thomas. The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School science teacher received a seven-day Caribbean cruise as part of her appreciation package.
During the four-hour event, which was attended by a host of education and elected officials, family, friends and well-wishers, Ravalier and three other contenders for the top teacher spot in the district — Faith Malvar, Mark Joseph Sy and Iambakisye Richardson — were lauded for their work inside and outside of the classroom.
Pre-recorded video messages were shown of each of the four candidates discussing their teaching philosophy and overall passion for teaching. Ravalier takes a four-pronged approach to helping her students learn. She believes “All students can learn; it takes a village to educate a child, learning should be fun and engaging, and the educator must be their students’ cheerleader,” according to an excerpt from her application to the top teacher spot in the district.
“Because students have different learning styles, it is important to provide opportunities for each child to learn,” Ravalier said. “Implementing project-based lessons is one avenue an educator can employ to engage students. The work of engagement requires dedication and an open mind.”
Ravalier went on to say, “When learning is engaging and fun, the teaching and learning experience become memorable in a positive way. Students will quickly grasp concepts that are ordinally challenging. A student-friendly environment will serve as a magnet to draw and keep students involved.”
“This job is not easy and this work is not easy, but because you are passionate about what you do, it makes connecting with our students so much easier,” he said. “I want to thank you for your commitment to excellent service to this department and the children of the Virgin Islands,” said St. Thomas-St. John District Superintendent Stefan Jurgen.
During her remarks, Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin pointed out the vital role teachers play in students realizing their full potential.
“Teachers have a special purpose to plant seeds that burst into rich, bountiful trees that bear fruit and nourish the minds, bodies, and souls of others,” she said. “Honorees, thank you for demonstrating excellence in your craft, thank you for raising the bar, thank you for caring, and thank you for choosing to teach in the Virgin Islands,” said Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin during her remarks.
During her one-year tenure, Ravalier will serve as a teacher-leader in various capacities within the St. Thomas-St. John District.
The St. Croix District Teacher of the Year ceremony will be held on Oct. 16.