Kingsway names Dana Ott 2019 Middle School Teacher of the Year
In seven years at Kingsway Regional Middle School as both a teacher and coach, Mrs. Ott quickly gained the respect of administration, her students, parents, colleagues, PLT, team mates, players, and the Board of Education. The same positive demeanor and tireless work ethic that made her a standout student and a Dragon Award Winner in this district has made her a standout educator, coach, and teacher leader.
When paying a visit to her class, it is evident the hours of her time outside the classroom are spent planning effective, creative, and deliberate lessons. Mrs. Ott makes feedback a priority during her daily instruction as student conferencing plays a major role during her writing workshops. Her classroom is one that is well-structured and built on respect; students, just like her players, want to please Mrs. Ott and work hard during the drafting and revision process in order to do so. Technology, research, stations, competition, group work, peer revision, one-on-one conferences, and good ol' fashion independent practice sessions all play a role in her class. Coupled with her effective student relationships, her varied and well-balanced instructional approach makes each day an outstanding classroom environment.
Dana has gotten involved in many roles within our school and our district. When in need of someone to help out in any way, Dana is your first round draft pick. She was a key member of our School Improvement team for three years, fulfilling the role as a mentoring liaison. She has served as the R- Team Leader for three years where she created a positive team environment and was proactive in her approach to student achievement. When called upon to do the yearbook with absolutely no experience, she and Mrs. Gismondi turned out a stellar product that brings pride to our middle school. And, as if this isn’t enough, this year, Mrs. Ott took on the role as Kingsway's varsity head field hockey coach. In her first year, her team notched a record of 19-1-1...one of the best records in school history. Her team made it to the South Jersey Group IV Sectional finals. Like with her instructional team, she quickly built a positive culture within her program that is predicated on hard work, relationships, and accountability.
The respect she earned in this building is a testament to person she is. Many middle school teachers and staff members went out to her playoff hockey games...and yes they wanted to see her team fight on to victory, but they were there to support Dana. She's humble, a positive worker-bee who doesn't love the spotlight, but her success demands it. She has worked side by side with Tom, Takiyah, Madi, and Gina on many writing assignments, and her PLT truly works as a team for the betterment of all. Her input is valued greatly by her teammates and committee members, and Dana is quick to listen and try something a little different if she thinks it will benefit the students and grow them as writers or players.
There is no doubt Dana is many of the things I mentioned to you today, and there is no doubt she is worthy of any accolades that come her way now and in the future, but it is quite simple what makes her a standout in all that she does. She attacks each day with a positive attitude and holds herself accountable. We can all look up to and root for this Dragon. Congratulations to Dana Ott....Kingsway Regional Middle School's 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year.