A TEACHER who has a ‘rare gift for motivating her pupils to love learning’ has been named the Bury Free Press 2011 Teacher of the Year.
Kate Pizzey, who teaches Year 4 at Great Barton Primary, said she was ‘flabbergasted’ to have scooped the accolade, which includes £750 towards a school project.
The classroom trailblazer joins Olivia Williams, of Tollgate Primary, and Becky Lynch, of Abbots Green Primary, both in Bury St Edmunds, who emerged runners up and have received £250 each.
They beat off tough competition after parents, pupils and colleagues nominated a wealth of talented educators for the distinction.
Miss Pizzey, 32, said: “I didn’t know I had been entered but I’m very pleased and it’s really nice to be appreciated. I really enjoy teaching. It’s about working with the children, making the lessons really fun and seeing them become more independent and enjoying learning.”
Her teaching career spans 11 years - starting at Great Heath Primary, in Mildenhall, before moving to Forest Primary, in Brandon and she has been at Great Barton Primary for more than a year.
Miss Pizzey was nominated by Leanne Sillett, who said the teacher’s work had transformed her son Daniel into ‘a confident and happy child’.
She was also put forward by pupil Abigail How.
Geoff Barton, head of King Edward VI School and a member of the judging panel, said: “It’s clear from the comments that she has a rare gift for motivating her pupils to love learning, both in lessons and the various clubs she runs.
“She uses modern methods to grab her pupils’ attention, gives them heaps of helpful feedback and makes them feel really good about the progress they have made.”
Miss Williams, who was nominated by Allison Harker for supporting her son Callum during a period of illness, said: “I’m very flattered and for the family to be thinking of me at this time is very kind.”
Miss Lynch, who was put forward by Zac Banham and his mum Charlotte, said: “It’s fantastic. I’m honoured and overwhelmed.”
The judging panel also included Guildhall Feoffment Primary head Sue Herriott and sponsors Frames Conservatories Direct.
Adrian Lewis, managing director at Frames, in Bury, added: “I gave copies of the nominations to all the managers within the business and we picked our top three.
“There were some very good applicants.”
They highlighted Miss Lynch’s ability to ‘create a fantastic learning environment for the pupils but also making learning a fun and enjoyable experience’.
Meanwhile Miss Williams had ‘demonstrated not only superb academic support but amazing emotional support’.
Barry Peters, editor of the Bury Free Press, said: “The competition highlighted the real stars in our classrooms.
“Thank you to the judges who took time to judge the entrants - but thanks, too, to everyone who nominated their favourite teacher.”
n The Bury Free Press will be running the competition again in 2012 - looking to find your favourite teacher.
Keep an eye out for details and make sure your favourite teacher gets the praise he or she really deserves.