Jefferson County Educator Named Pennsylvania’s 2013 Teacher of the Year

HERSHEY – Ryan Devlin, a teacher in the Brockway Area School District, Jefferson County, has been named Pennsylvania’s 2013 Teacher of the Year at the Keystone Awards of Excellence banquet in Hershey.

“On behalf of Gov. Tom Corbett and the citizens of Pennsylvania, I congratulate Ryan for achieving this well-deserved, prestigious award,” Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said in announcing the award.

“As a dedicated professional, Ryan’s commitment to both the teaching profession and his students demonstrates that Pennsylvania is home to quality individuals who are in the classroom educating our children.”

Devlin, currently in his fifth year at Brockway Area High School, teaches 11th-grade British literature, 8th-grade computer science and two senior-high electives: creative writing and digital media. He also serves as chairman of the high school’s English department.

His teaching methods include extensive use of technology in the classroom for which he received the Keystones Technology Integrator Award in 2009. He facilitates technology workshops for student teachers at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, teaches summer courses at Riverview Intermediate Unit #6 that highlight the newest digital resources available on the Internet, and works one-on-one with colleagues at Brockway Area High School with technology.

In 2007 and 2008, Devlin was featured on WJAC-TV’s “Success by Six” news segment for coordinating projects within the Brockway Area School District that involved members of the community. In 2008, he was named Sunny 106.5’s “Teacher of the Year.”

An active member in his local community, Devlin is a mentor with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, teaches vacation Bible school and is involved in several after-school programs and activities.

Devlin received his bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from Waynesburg University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from California University of Pennsylvania.

“Ryan is to be applauded for his strategies that engage students in the learning process by encouraging creativity, critical thinking and collaboration,” Tomalis said. “I am confident that Ryan’s students, past and present, are being provided with the skills and knowledge that will ensure their future success.”

Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, which was founded in 1995.

Tomalis also recognized Pennsylvania’s 2012 Milken Educator Award winner, Jennifer Hoffner-Turkowsi, a first-grade teacher at University Park Elementary School in Gateway School District, Allegheny County.

Hoffner-Turkowski, who has taught for eight years, holds bachelors’ degrees in both elementary education, and health policy and administration. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education, including a principal certification program.

During her tenure at Gateway School District, Hoffner-Turkowski serves as the district-wide first-grade team leader; developed University Park’s school-wide improvement plan; developed grade level remedial and advanced lessons in reading and math; and serves on the Pennsylvania: Leads, Empowering, Advancing and Diversifying Schools core team, which focuses on increasing student academic achievement and educational growth.

The Milken Educator Award, sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation, is one of the nation’s top teacher recognition programs that honor K-12 teachers, principals and specialists across the nation with a $25,000 individual, unrestricted award. Since the first award was granted in 1987, the program has awarded more than $63 million to more than 2,500 educators throughout the United States.

“Jennifer represents the thousands of educators across the state who devote countless hours to educating students,” Tomalis said. “Teachers are often not thanked enough for their commitment, and today’s event is an opportunity to applaud their work and recognize their achievements.”

Tomalis also recognized Pennsylvania’s Blue Ribbon schools for their success at increasing student achievement. The National Blue Ribbon Award was presented to the eight public schools:

  • Allegheny One Elementary School, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Blair County
  • Infinity Charter School, Dauphin County
  • Juniata Elementary School, Altoona Area School District, Blair County
  • Paradise Elementary School, Spring Grove Area School District, York County
  • Ridge Park Elementary School, Colonial School District, Montgomery County
  • Seneca Valley Middle School, Seneca Valley School District, Butler County
  • Spring-Ford Middle School 8th Grade Center, Spring Ford Area School District, Montgomery County
  • Windber Elementary School, Windber Area School District, Somerset County

“I want to thank educators across Pennsylvania for their unwavering commitment to ensuring that Pennsylvania’s students are afforded with a high-quality education,” Tomalis said. “The Corbett Administration is grateful for the work teachers do each and every day to educate our children.”


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