By Joshua Nishimoto
Sagle Elementary School
This year the honor of Teacher of the Year 2021-2022 has been bestowed upon Title 1 teacher Sherry Mitchell of Sagle Elementary School. Current reading teacher and previous fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, Mitchell has a 32-year history of teaching (minus an eight-year hiatus she took while raising her children).
“I originally majored in wildlife biology,” Sherry said, “but later changed my major to education after conducting nature walks for elementary students through the Audubon Society in Maine, where I started my teaching career.”
With an extensive career in teaching a plethora of subjects, Sherry said that she most enjoys the relationships that she has built with her students. She enjoys the process of making those connections and then starting over again.
“I also challenge myself by trying to learn the names of every student in the school,” she said. “So, when I see them in the hallway, I can greet them.”
Sherry has no one experience that has made her teaching career memorable, but a multitude of experiences. In her current position, she can work with the same students year after year, which enables her to keep up with them to ensure that they keep going strong in their learning.
“It is so rewarding to see them grow,” Sherry added. “Every child and the school year is unique, and that is what makes teaching so interesting.”
During Sherry’s historic career, she has learned many unique and interesting facts about her students and teachers, but one fact may surprise you. “Something that might surprise parents or the general public about the teaching profession is that teachers think of their students as ‘their kids,’” she said. “And we learn as much from them as they do from us. To teach is to learn.”
While teaching is Sherry’s passion, in her free time, she likes to go camping, especially near the ocean. She is also an avid bird watcher and thrift shopper. And while learning from the ocean to the birds, if there’s one life lesson that she could pass on to her students, Sherry said, “It’s perseverance.”
“Learning to read is hard work, and becoming a fluent reader takes time,” she added. “I love celebrating with students as they see their progress along the way. If you have perseverance, you can make it through life’s challenges.”