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Educator of the Year

Sarah Pritts

Associates from throughout her tenure at Hope Academy, Durfee Technology Magnet School and Garfield Montessori will tell you of dinosaur digs, planetariums, Fractured Fairy Tales and innovative ideas by the dozens. Sarah Pritts represents her peers through Decatur Education Association activities and in the community as an advocate for the impact created by fellow teachers in District 61. She cares about kids, she cares about colleagues, and her approach to her profession underscores the vital importance of what takes place each day within our classrooms.

“Sarah is inventive, energetic, intelligent and compassionate,” says nominator Sarah Ransdell. “She puts her personal best forward each day. She understands the families and parents she serves, and is an invaluable asset to the Decatur Public Schools and the Decatur community.”

Ransdell relates what others will attest as well – that Pritts is a wonderful peer resource for generating imaginative ways to engage young learners in a given activity. Last year, Ransdell attended a language-arts focused event organized by Pritts and funded through the Decatur Public Schools Foundation. Hosted by Durfee’s elementary students, this project featured the melding of literature – specifically favorite fairytales with fun “twists” – with the use of technology to help students delve deeper into the material.

“She had ‘tweet’ summaries of stories and plenty of story-telling through different iPad apps and videos.  Each student was able to share his or her knowledge with the visiting guests. I was so impressed by how these students swiftly navigated technology and spoke on the subject matter. I came back from this event feeling much more confident incorporating one-to-one technology in my classroom.  I was able to take the observations I made and bring those ideas and techniques back to my building.”

Pritts has been a strong presence in our schools for a decade, adapting teaching strategies to fit her students and embracing new ideas as they emerge. After eleven years in traditional classrooms, she continued her own journey through certification as an American Montessori Society Elementary teacher, finding a natural connection between this philosophy and her own approach. And as important as she is to her own students, her formal and informal mentorship of other teachers has had an equally vital impact on the District.

 Sarah Pritts exemplifies traits shared by many other equally dedicated teachers within Decatur’s public schools. We are proud to recognize her as the 2016 Educator of the Year!