Mayport Teacher Finalist for Award Massey's Devotion to Students Honored

Article excerpt

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

classroom."

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

visit.

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

do well."

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

said.

And Massey is involved in that learning both in and out of the

classroom.

She teaches two seventh-grade and three eighth-grade language

arts classes.

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

tests.

She said that involvement might be one of the main factors

influencing her selection as a Teacher of the Year finalist. …