“This year’s recipient is the embodiment of an excellent teacher,” Head of School Bodie Brizendine told Spence faculty and staff at the Closing Meeting, as she announced History Teacher Joanne Yoon as the recipient of the 2019 Margaret Duckett Award. The award has been given annually since 1999 “to an outstanding teacher who has made an extraordinary contribution to the quality of life in the Spence community in the tradition of Margaret Duckett who taught at Spence for 22 years.”
Brizendine highlighted Yoon’s contributions to the School through the words of several nominations submitted on Yoon’s behalf.
One Spence colleague’s endorsement noted, “She is well-rounded: from being outstanding in the classroom, sharing her exuberance and love for her subject with her students, to being outstanding outside of the classroom, easily engaging in conservations with kids that enable them to feel someone really ‘knows’ them.’ She has an astute and trained eye for noticing all the kids in her classroom, and invests deeply in the art of teaching. She treats each lesson with care and attention, and always has her students’ best interests at heart when considering how to approach a topic, how to make the learning ‘stick.’”
Yoon was commended for “always trying to figure out the dilemma of how to do something better the next time” and for dedication to her students beyond her teaching responsibilities. “She places as much care and concern in advising as she does in teaching,” a colleague underscored.
Other nominations shared by Brizendine emphasized Yoon’s commitment, not just to her students, but also to her colleagues and to the larger Spence community. “During times when I have struggled with breaking out of my shell or acting on something that has made me hesitate, she’s an encourager and listener,” a fellow colleague of color wrote. “And this is a gift she probably doesn’t even know she possesses.”
“Without her guidance, steady presence, and humor, we would not be as strong or as resilient as we are a community,” Brizendine emphasized. “Her determination is our determination. Her love for teaching and for students, is our love. And her professionalism, her constant learning and her commitment are our aspirations every day.”
As part of the award, Yoon will present a talk about teaching at the 2020 Closing Meeting. Congratulations to Joanne Yoon.