2004 Teacher of the Year Award: Ann Edwards
The National Right to Read Foundation is pleased to announce that Ann Edwards is the 2004 recipient of its Patrick Groff Teacher of the Year Award. She is a first grade teacher at Litel Elementary School in Chino Hills, California.
Ann has had twenty-four years of teaching experience in various grades from kindergarten through grade nine. She says, “My mission in life is teaching. My passion is teaching reading. The ability to read, more than any other acquired discipline or skill, is related to success or failure, economic level, realization of dreams and potential, crime, and particularly juvenile crime.”
Ann cited a quotation from the September 13, 1998 Los Angeles Times about the relationship between reading and crime: “Many nonreaders eventually drop out of school or get referred to costly special education programs. So many wind up in jail that Arizona officials have found they can use the rate of illiteracy to help calculate future prison needs.” Ann adds, “What this means to me is that I am not simply teaching reading. I am preventing crimes such as murder, family abuse, robbery, assault, etc. with all the related victims thereto.”
Ann has followed her passion and found great success in teaching the skill of reading to her students using Open Court and Phonics Pathways/Pyramid Reading, explicit, systematic phonics programs, which are based upon the findings of scientifically based research in reading. Excerpts from letters written to Ann by some of the grateful parents of her students during the 2002-2003 school year provide an impressive picture of her accomplishments, not only in teaching reading but in other areas as well.
We want to thank God for the opportunity to know you, especially since Hubert became your student in first grade. We are pleased that Hubert is improving in his reading, phonics, and good decision skills. Thank you for helping our son in developing his character and moral conduct. Hubert told us he learns how to encourage others, help others, tell the truth, not easily give up, and be a brave person.
Willy and Maria Kusdono
We would like to thank you for all your hard work this past year. You are a true asset to the school and a treasure to the families lucky enough to have had a child in your care. Our daughter’s achievements have made us very proud, but most important, Ashley feels proud of herself. She knows she now has the skills to move forward and be successful. Her confidence shines. Thank you!
Heather and Alex Baiseri
Jim and I would like to express how very grateful we feel to have had you as Bryan’s teacher this year. Your dedication and hard work have been invaluable in laying the foundation for Bryan to have academic success throughout his life as a student. To have watched you work with the children this year has been both an inspiration and an education. If all teachers were like you, our society would be filled with knowledgeable and moral citizens.
Jim and Janine Milligan
I will be forever grateful! You have given my daughter, Alyssa, the skills, knowledge, and confidence to be a successful student. My daughter has become a much better reader. Don’t ever give up trying to apply your system. IT WORKS!
There are not enough words to express our gratitude to you for the many wonderful things you have done for your class, especially Weston. Weston has always had a desire to learn. This year that desire has blossomed into something more than we could have ever hoped for. Weston is constantly reading and enjoys the challenge of reading “a lot of really big words.” There have been very few days that Weston has not come home and exclaimed, “Guess what we did today!” If all the teachers were like you, this world would be a much better and happier place.
Jamie and Anne Almeid
This year has been a year of growth for Joe. We have seen him understand so much. We know that your methods reached him. We cannot thank you enough.
Joe and Sonia Diaz
Thank you so very much for making Sean’s first grade so special. We are so grateful to you for everything that you have taught him. Sean has developed great interest in reading and learning. He is a confident little boy, and we are appreciative beyond words for all that you have done for Sean. He loves going to school and often tells how much he “loves Mrs. Edwards. Mrs. Edwards knows everything—she’s my favorite teacher!” We share Sean’s feelings. You are the Best!! Thank you for everything.
Tony and Vicky
Academically, Stephen’s growth has been nothing short of a miracle. We prayed for a teacher who would have the tools and expertise to unlock the world of reading for Stephen. Your systematic phonics program and after school tutoring made sense to Stephen, and his reading skills skyrocketed. In addition to his INCREDIBLE reading progress you have laid a strong foundation for Stephen’s future academic success. He can sound out any word, his spelling is excellent, and he has such confidence in his reading skills.
David and Debbie Hauck
It gives us great pleasure to recognize Ann as an outstanding example of the many reading teachers across America who understand what is absolutely essential to teaching students to read. Her skill in teaching reading based upon the findings of scientific research has ensured that the sky will be the limit for her students as they move forward in their educational experiences. It is our hope that many other teachers will seek to receive this kind of training in teaching reading and thus be able to open the door to success for students far and wide.
Congratulations, Ann, and thank you for your love, devotion, and dedication to the children entrusted to your care. May God bless you as you continue to follow your passion to help all your students attain that priceless skill, the ability to read.