Stephanie Cronin, Seward High School, 2017 BP Teacher of Excellence
“It is truly humbling to receive this award. I am very proud to accept it on behalf of my fellow 2017 Teachers of Excellence, and all the excellent teachers across our district. Thank you BP for this program and the recognition you give to public educators!” –Stephanie Cronin
Stephanie graduated from University of Minnesota Minneapolis with a bachelor degree in economics and also received a bachelor’s in mathematics from University of Alaska Anchorage. She continued at UAA for graduate school received a Master of Arts in Teaching and also a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Stephanie’s enthusiasm as a student translates fluently to her enthusiasm as a teacher.
One of her students writes, “She planted the seed in my brain that it’s okay to be excited about math. Mrs. Cronin’s ability to bring excitement and engagement into the math room stems from the way she really cares about each student. I hope someday I can inspire any individual the way Mrs. Cronin and her selfless devotion to her career has inspired me.”
Stephanie’s goal in the classroom is to encourage her students to become creative problem-solvers, who are not afraid to try hard, take risks–and potentially fail.
She accomplishes this by building trusting relationships with each student. She greets each student as he or she enters her classroom, and honestly listens when they answer her question, “How are you?” Her classroom is a safe place, where students want to be, and where they feel the confidence to tackle tough problems.
She challenges her kids. When she gives the class a problem to solve, for example, she does not tell each student whether or not he or she got the correct answer. Rather, she sends them back and tells the entire class to agree on an answer. Only when they have all talked it out and come to an agreement will she lead them through a diagnosis of how to perform the correct math.
In this way, she turns individual effort into success as a member of a group–a team—and that evolves into self-confidence.
When a University of Alaska representative visited Stephanie’s classroom last year to promote college attendance, she remarked how impressed she was at the high number of students who wanted to become math teachers and engineers. When the students were asked why, they answered, “It’s because of Mrs. Cronin.”
Her dedication has not gone unnoticed. In addition to other awards, in 2012, Stephanie received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which was presented to her by Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., and she is the 2017 State of Alaska Alternate Teacher of the Year.
Another former student who attended Stanford University honor Ms. Cronin with the Stanford Recognition “Teacher Tribute” award for having the greatest influence on his education.
Principal Trevan Walker states: “If one were to survey any Seward High graduate since the Class of 2000 then I am confident that they would not only be able to describe ‘Positive Math Attitude,’ but that they would be able to describe what ‘PMA’ personally means to them. I can think of no greater tribute, to a truly excellent teacher, than this.”
This year’s nominees were again, an excellent representation of our staff as a whole,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They are humble, hard-working and student-centered. They are willing to go above and beyond to help students succeed and reach their full potential. Mrs. Cronin is definitely one of our finest teachers who has transformed math instruction at Seward High School. She makes a positive difference everyday and is an unforgettable influence on her students. This award is very well deserved.”
“BP is proud to honor these great teachers and their tireless work in the classroom,” said BP Alaska Regional President Janet Weiss. “We see it as part of our ongoing commitment to the communities where our people live and work – and an investment in the people who help make Alaska great.”
Now in its 22nd year, the BP Teachers of Excellence program honors K-12 teachers from all school districts statewide, including public and private schools.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District BP Teachers of Excellence winners are:
- Stephanie Cronin, Seward High School
- Jonathan Dillon, Mountain View Elementary School
- Barbara Larivee, West Homer Elementary School
- Meredith McCullough, Kenai Central High School
- Colby Way, Port Graham School
Congratulations, Stephanie Cronin, BP Teacher of Excellence!