After several months of nominations, recommendations, essays, interviews and videotaped lessons, three West Hartford teachers have emerged as finalists for the town's Teacher of the Year award: Joyce St. Germaine, an art teacher at Karla McClain, a music teacher at Bristow, and Judie Goldenthal, a kindergarten teacher at Elementary School.
Joyce St. Germaine is the most veteran of the three nominees with 36 years in the West Hartford district. St. Germaine has taught at , , Norfeldt, and elementary schools, as well as and . She has been the art teacher at Bristow for the last four years.
"It was very humbling" to be nominated, St. Germaine said. "I'm in the best company. We're such a collegial group of teachers [at Bristow]. It really did make me feel great."
Judie Goldenthal has taught in the district for 32 years, the last 21 at Norfeldt in the same kindergarten classroom.
"It's nice that one of the other people has been teaching even longer than I have," Goldenthal said. She added that it was gratifying to contradict the notion that more experienced teachers aren't as motivated or innovative.
"It's very exciting," she said.
Karla McClain, a music teacher and choir director at Bristow, has been teaching since 1999. McClain taught in Ohio for four years, then moved to West Hartford and taught at Hall and King Philip before opening the program at Bristow five years ago.
"I was very surprised and humbled," McClain said of the nomination. "I just wrote to a few of my former teachers because it made me reflective" of how they had influenced her.
Superintendent Dr. Karen List recognized each of the teachers at the start of Tuesday evening's Board of Education meeting. The winner of the award will be announced at the West Hartford Education Association banquet on May 26.