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June 07. 2014 9:56PM

Pinkerton students: Joe Lee is 'a passionate, enthusiastic teacher'

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE Department of Education has selected Joseph Lee, a history teacher at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, as this year's New Hampshire Teacher of the Year. The selection committee recognizes his conviction and passion for teaching, the energy he brings to the classroom, and his philosophy of making every student better.

According to Roger Konstant, the Social Studies Department Chairman at Pinkerton Academy, "Joe Lee, in a mere seven years, has become a master teacher. He has single handedly taken an out-of-date geography course and redesigned it as Cultural Geography.

He has taken the course beyond what and where questions to a deeper, more enduring understanding in which the questions of how and why are answered. The course is now offered as a requirement of all freshmen and helps to lay the foundation of all social studies courses to follow."

Even in a very large school like Pinkerton Academy, Joe's commitment to his students and their education has been noted. According to Headmaster Mary Anderson, last year all 3,000 students were asked for their opinion about the best teacher at Pinkerton.

Many, many respondents cited Joe Lee and stated things like, "Mr. Lee was such a passionate, enthusiastic teacher. He helped me adjust to high school and improved my high school experience. Everyone in the classroom respected him and I was always excited to go to class. He's an amazing teacher and a great person."

In 2012, Joe was honored with the Shepard Award that is named after one of Pinkerton's finest alumni, Alan Shepard, and is given to a teacher or teachers who have displayed excellence in the teaching profession. He received this award at the end of his 5th year of teaching, which is the minimum number of teaching years' experience to be nominated.

According to Joe himself, "A teacher is the medium between student and curriculum, contemplation and enduring understanding, between personal past experiences and existence in our globalized interconnected world. A teacher is one who recognizes the unique characteristics of each student and who works with each to hone strengths and overcome challenges."

Whether in the classroom, on the athletic field as coach of two varsity sports, or working to redesign and help conduct the China Exchange Program, Joe Lee is constantly working to try and become that teacher.


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