Joanne Campbell, an eighth-grader at Mayport Middle School,
sneaked over to talk to a visitor after she finished her
vocabulary test in Kathleen Massey's language arts class.
"I just wanted to put in a good word for Ms. Massey," she said.
"I've had her for two years and she's great. If you have a
problem she's always there for you, even if it's outside the
Not that Massey needs anyone to put in a good word for her.
The seventh- and eighth-grade language arts teacher at Mayport
Middle has been named one of five finalists for the Duval School
District's 1998 Teacher of the Year award.
Each Duval school nominates a teacher for the award, and the
150 nominees are gradually narrowed down through a selection
process that includes writing six essays, being interviewed by a
13-judge panel and being evaluated during a 14-person classroom
Mayport Middle Vice Principal Karen Davis said Massey was
nominated and voted on by her peers because of her devotion to
the school and its students.
"I think you couldn't find a kinder person who is more caring
about her students," she said. "She absolutely wants to see them
Massey's parents and grandmother were teachers, and she said
growing up around them influenced her career choice. She started
her 21-year teaching career in Atlanta and has been at Mayport
Middle for the past 20 years.
She said she loves her colleagues at Mayport Middle and that
she really loves the students.
"The best thing, without a doubt, is seeing them learn," Massey
And Massey is involved in that learning both in and out of the
She teaches two seventh-grade and three eighth-grade language
She is the co-sponsor of the yearbook, a tutor after school and
in the evenings, in charge of training new teachers and
coordinating continuing education workshops for experienced
teachers, on the advisory committee with parents, on the Mayport
Improvement Committee, on the Brotherhood Committee and involved
with Blueprint for Careers.
Massey has also worked with the Duval district on a number of
occasions to write language arts curriculum. This year she
worked with the team that wrote some of the year's language arts
She said that involvement might be one of the main factors
influencing her selection as a Teacher of the Year finalist. …