Two FHSD Teachers Named Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

Posted on 10/20/2016

Francis Howell School District (FHSD) is proud to announce that teachers Brittany Hoelscher and Shelly Parks have both received the 2016 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. The FHSD community now has further proof that our teachers are the best in their field, because they promote both professional excellence, and also excellence in their students and the staff around them. These two great teachers embody the culture of learning in FHSD as they work to educate and inspire the next generation of our community.

Most of us believe that teachers are underappreciated, and these unsung heroes deserve more credit than they receive. Emerson, whose headquarters are located in St. Louis, has sponsored a program that recognizes teachers for their excellence since 1989, the only award of its kind in the entire state of Missouri. The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards annually honor more than 100 educators – from kindergarten to college – in the Metro area.

From Francis Howell High School, Brittany Hoelscher is known for her motivational skills. Her positive relationships with students motivates them to learn. FHHS Principal Dr. Dave Wedlock said, “A visit to her classroom would show her highly energetic and encouraging personality. Students have a smile when they enter her class, and work hard because they know Mrs. Hoelscher cares about them and their success.”

Although Hoelscher is just in her fourth year of teaching at FHHS, she is already a leader among her peers. She is active in writing curriculum for several different courses, serving as Professional Learning Community leader for FHHS, and always motivating her team members to collaborate and try new instructional strategies. Outside of the classroom, Hoelscher goes out of her way to attend athletic and/or club activities in which her students participate. “Her students appreciative her efforts to personally connect with them,” Dr. Wedlock said, “not only as a student, but also as a person.”

Shelly Parks has been with Francis Howell North High School for nearly a decade, and serves as the Communication Arts Department Chair. Parks is a National Board Certified teacher who focuses on the achievement of both her students and her department. A proponent of cooperative learning, she puts extra value on students working together to solve problems and learn content that might seem challenging. FHN Principal Andrew Downs said, “Both her Advanced Placement Literature and her English II students performed at a very high level as a result of her efforts in this area.”

Parks also understands the importance of building positive relationships with students. She is highly involved outside of her classroom, including serving as FHN’s Student Council sponsor for several years. “By the end of the first day of school every year,” Downs said, “she knows each one of her students’ names.”

To Parks, the classroom is an inspiring, collaborative environment. She sees the value of collaborative learning for teachers, just as she does for students. “Shelley is constantly

making decisions to improve the success of our students, analyzing common assessment data and focusing on instruction that will maximize achievement.”

These two teachers are just a couple of the hundreds of outstanding instructors in FHSD. This recognition from Emerson is just a confirmation of what their students and fellow staff members have known all along.

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