Called to the East Middle School media center to fix a problem with student testing on Monday, math teacher Debbie Calanchi walked into a surprise gathering of students, administrators and family.
They all came to congratulate her for being selected 2013 Farmington Public Schools Middle School Teacher of the Year. Calanchi was also chosen to receive the lease of a new vehicle for one year, through the Suburban Collection.
Reading from the nomination form submitted by colleague Jessica Jones, Supt. Susan Zurvalec said Calanchi is someone who "knows that one size doesn't fit all" and adjusts assignments and lessons to meet the needs of individual students.
Calanchi also gives students real life applications for math lessons, having them make up a batch of their own trail mix recipe and even dressing up as a construction worker to teach students about measurements, Zurvalec said.
In her nomination letter, student Sophia Franklin wrote that Calanchi "goes above and beyond in her teaching, so students can go above and beyond in their learning."
That extends to her willingness to help the staff at East, principal Ken Sanders said. Calanchi, who moved to the school when Power Middle School became an upper elementary school, said she felt a warm welcome that made the transition easier.
"I was made to feel like this was always my home," she said. "Thank you for recognizing me for doing something that I love to do."
See who won Elementary and Upper Elementary Teacher of the Year honors.