State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart made the announcement during a ceremony that recognized Gren and her fellow county teachers of the year and Principal Brown.
Gren began her career 12 years ago in Monongalia County teaching computer skills and creative writing at Second Ward Elementary School. In 1992, she taught fifth and sixth grades at Daybrook Elementary School, where she was head teacher and Computer Lab Manager. Gren then began teaching first grade to students enrolled at Mountainview Elementary School in 1993. She continued working at Mountainview until 1997 when she began teaching at Woodburn Elementary School.
“It is my distinct privilege to honor such a fine educator in our state’s public school system. Ms. Gren exemplifies the meaning of master teacher not only by her leadership skills, but also by displaying an extraordinary dedication to both her students and her community,” Dr. Stewart said. “From her role of developing a more appropriate grade card for younger students to maintaining communication with West Virginia University’s (WVU) Teacher Education Program, she sets an example for all public school educators. I have no doubt that Ms. Gren will represent West Virginia well at the national level.”
Representing her school in different capacities, Gren is always striving to improve the teaching profession. When her school became a Professional Development School three years ago, she was selected to supervise WVU students and serve as their first contact between Woodburn and the university. She headed up a committee which developed a handbook for the students providing professional expectations and community information.
Gren meets with her students on a regular basis to discuss their concerns and experiences, as well assists them with additional in-service training, observes them in a professional setting and maintains evaluations for the university.
Gren believes that more emphasis should be placed on the success of the children’s advancement. Standards are being met and then they are raised again. She said that our schools are not failing because students are learning more than ever, and at an earlier age.
“There is an overall perception that we’re not doing a good job. This is at odds with the national polls, though,” Gren said. “By far, the majority of parents in this country are satisfied with their child’s school. But if the majority of parents are happy, then the great majority of schools are doing well.”
Gren was selected from a field of 49 candidates which was narrowed to eight finalists. The state Teacher of the Year is selected by a committee appointed by the state superintendent of schools to evaluate the county nominees. Sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc., the Teacher of the Year is the longest, ongoing awards program honoring classroom teachers.
This year’s finalists included Ruthanne Cole, Mercer County; Charlene Galluzzo, Tyler County; Patricia Hanson, Greenbrier County; Debra Hussell, Mason County; Kirk King, Boone County; Jan Madden, Marshall County; and Kay Utter, Harrison County.
The 2002 Principal of the Year is Norwood Elementary School’s Philip Brown. Brown has been principal at Norwood since 1985, but also served as principal at Morgan Elementary and Nutter Fort Elementary. He worked as assistant principal at Johnson Elementary. He has served as an instructor for the West Virginia Center for Professional Development. While being responsible for Evaluation Leadership Institutes for new administrators, Brown has served as a presenter/facilitator for the Governor’s Summer Institutes. He coaches administrators for seriously impaired schools and is one of the eight principals across the nation who works with the Centers for Disease Control addressing a school health program for its Division of Adolescent and School Health.
Under Brown’s leadership, Norwood was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and a West Virginia School of Excellence in 1996. Brown was named West Virginia’s National Distinguished Principal in 1995-1996. In 1999, Norwood received the Educational Alliance Gold Star Award for an Exemplary School-Business Partnership, as well as the West Virginia Healthy Schools Gold Award and the West Virginia Title I Distinguished School.