Vermont Teacher of the Year among honorees at Outstanding Educators Day

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Teacher of Year Aziza Malik was among the honorees at the 2024 Outstanding Educators Day held at the University of Vermont's Dudley H. Davis Center on Nov. 14.

A fifth-grade teacher at Champlain Elementary School in Burlington, Malik is known for partnering with community members and local institutions to connect her curriculum to the real world. Her teaching helps students to engage with the local Indigenous population. She has also worked to revitalize the school's community garden.

A graduate of UVM’s Leadership for Sustainability master’s degree program, Malik is also a current member of the Education for Sustainability Leadership Academy at Shelburne Farms in partnership with UVM.

“I want every single student to feel like they belong,” said Malik in a recent interview with Vermont Public. “I have been working to create those moments where we feel like we belong and we’re proud to share who we are. If we don’t have that, we don’t have anything.”

Hosted by the UVM's College of Education and Social Services (CESS) and the Vermont Agency of Education, Outstanding Educators Day honored 84 educators from school districts and supervisory unions across the state as well as Vermont’s incoming and outgoing Teacher of the Year.

“Today marks a time to celebrate you – our teachers and other educators – and your guests as we recognize your significant and impactful contributions to our schools, children and youth and their families, communities, and our state,” CESS Dean Katherine Shepherd said. “This annual event provides us with an opportunity to celebrate a group of professionals who make such a difference in our lives.”

2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year Robyn Newton provided an inspiring and interactive keynote address to the honorees and assembled guests. “If you elevate teachers, you elevate learning,” said the Vergennes Elementary School Physical Education Teacher. “I am humbled to have represented you this year on my Teacher of the Year journey.”

Newton, a 1995 graduate of UVM, spoke about the importance of bringing joy to the classroom. “Without joy we can’t learn. Without joy we can't find a purpose. Without joy we are just flat out boring. When all else seems to be failing, remember why we teach; it's for the joy of learning, for the joy on our students' faces, it's for the joy of having fun and smiling and laughing.”

For more than four decades, UVM has hosted the annual ceremonial event recognizing outstanding educators from school districts and supervisory unions throughout the state. Visit the Vermont Outstanding Educator Awards webpage to view the event program and a listing of current and previous honorees.

“This celebration, the 43rd Outstanding Educator Awards, is one small part of recognizing and celebrating your value and critical contribution to your community,” said Meg Porcella, director of the Student Support Division of the Vermont Agency of Education. “Each of you, from the newly minted to the most seasoned has a story to tell, and Vermont’s learners prosper when you prosper.”

UVM’s CESS strives to promote a more humane and just society maximizing human potential and the quality of life for all individuals, families and communities. Emphasizing academic quality, inclusive practices, experiential learning and community engagement, the College prepares students for immediate success and impactful careers in education, social work, and human services. CESS faculty and alumni play leading roles in transformative teaching, research, policy development and service in Vermont, across the United States, and around the world.

As one of the nation’s premier PreK-12 teacher education institutions, the CESS Department of Education provides nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate programs distinguished by innovative and rigorous curriculum, nationally prominent faculty, and research-based instructional practices. Academic programming focuses on culturally responsive teaching, extensive and carefully sequenced field-based experiences, and community-engaged service-learning.

About the University of Vermont

Since 1791, the University of Vermont has worked to move humankind forward. UVM’s strengths align with the most pressing needs of our time: the health of our societies and the health of our environment. Our size—large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet intimate enough to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study—allows us to pursue these interconnected issues through cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Providing an unparalleled educational experience for our students, and ensuring their success, are at the core of what we do. As one of the nation’s first land grant universities, UVM advances Vermont and the broader society through the discovery and application of new knowledge.

UVM is derived from the Latin Universitas Viridis Montis (in English, University of the Green Mountains).

About the Vermont Agency of Education

The Agency of Education implements state and federal laws, policies, and regulations to ensure all Vermont learners have equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities. The Agency accomplishes this mission through the provision of its leadership, support, and oversight of Vermont’s public education system.

Source: 11.20.2023. BURLINGTON -- Agency of Education Vermont Business Magazine