Position: Reading Coach
School: John E. Ford Pre K-8 Montessori School
School District: Duval County Public Schools
City, State: Jacksonville, Florida
About the Nominee: Stephanie Durham has been instrumental in the transformation of her school. Her work to ensure a quality education for all students does not end with her full-time position at Ford, as she also holds two additional jobs to strengthen the field of education and individual at-risk students. Ms. Durham trains, guides and mentors 32 teachers at Ford on the traditional school calendar. Since June 2012, she has also worked at night and during the summer time facilitating poetry lessons for Hope at Hand, Inc. Her Hope at Hand poetry groups include: - Pretrial Detention Facility - incarcerated female adolescents with felony charges - Department of Juvenile Justice - incarcerated female adolescents - PACE Center for Girls – alternative high school for high school girls - Gateway, Steps to Recovery – adolescent females in recovery - Buckner Division/Children’s Home Society - adolescent females in foster care, ages 13-18 either pregnant or with young children - Catholic Charities/Refugee Resettlement –girls from Afghanistan - Catholic Charities/Refugee Resettlement –girls from Burma
Hope at Hand is funded by local donations and grant awards. From time to time, funds are unavailable for scheduled poetry sessions, but Ms. Durham never alters her schedule with her high school girls. She is determined to facilitate hope for some of the most vulnerable students in North Florida. She can walk into hostile environments with a box of crayons and a handful of poems and change the attitudes and hearts of her girls, who all love her.
This 12 year veteran educator is also a K-2 English/Language Arts team leader for EdReports.org, a national organization. She was accepted into Leadership Jacksonville, Class of 2017. She was also a 2016 Finalist for Instructional Coach of the Year for Duval County Public Schools. In the last year, Ms. Durham has presented language arts and poetry on the local, state and national levels. She was selected to attend Teach to Lead. Finally, she is a lead language arts advocate for the State of Florida’s Student Achievement Partners.
Ms. Durham strengthens beginning teachers, veteran teachers, educational organizations and at-risk female adolescents. She is a tremendous asset in the profession of education!