“Every student can learn and learning looks different for every student, the way it should be! With this belief, I am always looking for the ways to help all students at Nikolaevsk learn. As the special education teacher at a K-12 school, every year is different as the students grow up, learn new skills, take on new interests, and create new goals. Our goal as a school is that every student will have success and be ready for whatever is next for them after high school, and we make this happen the power of IEPs, our PBIS program, and long-term relationships.” –Robanne Stading, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to the 2018 Kenai Borough School District BP Teacher of the Year, Ms. Robanne Stading!
Mrs. Stading discovered she is the 2018 Kenai Teacher of the Year when Wendy Lindskoog, Vice President of Communications and External Affairs at BP Alaska, spoke to a crowded room during the BP Teachers of Excellence celebration:
This teacher has had uniquely effective success in reaching difficult-to-reach students. One coworker wrote, “This teacher is not only a wonderful teacher and colleague, but a true mentor for students.”
Parents agree. One wrote, “This teacher is an amazing person, who is caring, loving and truly loves the job. We constantly say how blessed we are to have this teacher.”
This teacher works hard to ensure the school is safe and accessible to every student who comes through its doors physically, emotionally and educationally. If a student has difficulties, like one recent student who had a rare form of muscular dystrophy and was bound to a wheelchair, this teacher works to make sure he can not only get into and around the school, but that the other students accept him, welcome him and help him. Today, rather than be awkward or alienated, that student is liked by all and included as a part of the school.
Whether it’s staying late to work with students, or giving up lunchtime to tutor, this teacher is always willing to put the children first.
When a fellow teacher contracted brain cancer, our BP Teacher of the Year stepped up and took over as lead instructor of her classes for a year and a half, in addition to this teacher’s regular workload.
This teacher believes her school is a community, and she works to instill that sense of belonging, compassion and responsibility in her students through every lesson she teaches. But far more important, she shows them what a good member of the community by example. And every day, she shows them what a great teacher is.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the 2018 Kenai Borough School District BP Teacher of the Year… Ms. Robanne Stading.
Robanne Stading teaches special education in kindergarten through grade twelve at Nikolaevsk School. She has been a teacher for 12 years, all in Alaska.
In April, one of the teachers at Nikolaevsk School heard a racket outside her classroom and opened the door to see what it was. She saw Ms. Stading’s junior high students running down the hallway doing a reenactment of a Civil War battle. That’s the kind of teacher she is. As a student writes, “Ms. Stading is a fun teacher who promotes personalized learning and creativity.”
When she assigns a poetry project, she’ll often write the rubric in the form of that type of poem. She introduces algebra concepts through games and teaches that it’s not about the formulas but the understanding that algebra is about balance and finding answers to the unknown. A skill her students will use in real life.
Ms. Stading urges her students to get out of their comfort zones and stretch to discover where they can go, and to reach their full potential. She teaches that struggle in the classroom is not a cause for giving up, but rather, means we should dig in and try harder, work to find a solution. She teaches that struggle is something we all deal with throughout life, and finding solutions is not just a classroom assignment but a life skill.
Ms. Stading teaches in a small school in rural Alaska. That means she has the wonderful advantage of teaching children in multiple grades as they grow older. She knows them, and their strengths and weaknesses. She is able to remind them of how far they’ve come and inspire them to develop their best selves. But working in a rural school means she also has to find or create opportunities for her students. She was an early adopter of active, innovative methods of instruction, such as Mystery Skype, which uses the internet to connect classrooms around the world to share geography, culture and social studies.
She was an early participant in Global Read Aloud, another multi-classroom project that brings students together through literature. Ms. Stading actively looks for ways to inspire her students to look beyond the classroom to the larger world.
But perhaps more than anything that stands out about Ms. Stading is her compassion and dedication to her students. A colleague writes: “She is a true mentor to her students. Children have listed Robanne in their web of support people. As a school counselor, I can tell you that when students list a teacher as someone they know will be their champion and safe adult during times of crisis speaks volumes about that teacher.”
Ms. Stading has multiple degrees. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University, and a Master of Education from University of Alaska Anchorage. She also earned a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from U of A Southeast and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from UAA.
One parent wrote, “My son has severe autism and is non-verbal. I always worry about him going to school, but with Robanne, I feel 100% comfortable. And that’s the best feeling, to know how much support my son has just from her alone.”
“It’s been my pleasure to work with Robanne for eleven years at Nikolaevsk school,” said Michael Sellers, principal. “I watched her develop into a true world-class educator. Robanne has never been satisfied with the status quo. She has developed a PLC with other highly effective and progressive educators from around the country and uses what she learns to improve her craft. She models lifelong learning for all students and staff. She was an early adopter of using technology in the classroom—not just as another way for students to make presentations or type up their papers—but to connect with students in authentic ways from around the world. She uses genius hour for students to dive deep into subjects they may not otherwise get to explore in a traditional setting. She has been true to the co-teaching model ensuring all students are learning at his or her potential. I look forward to working with Robanne into the future while preparing students for theirs.”
“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I especially celebrate Ms. Robanne Stading for her excellence and leadership in our district.”
- Celebrate Jen Booz, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Wil Chervenak, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Carlyn Nichols, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Staci Wells, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence
- Celebrate Robanne Stading, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year
- Celebrate Aaron Gordon, 2018 Kenai BP Education Ally