Spotlight on Carrie Hughes, Teacher of the Year
By Annette McLoughlin
Each year, one teacher from the Rye City School District is selected by his and her peers as Teacher of the Year. That individual is chosen based on their enthusiasm, dedication, and visible caring for the profession and the community. This year’s recipient, Carrie Hughes, embodies all of these characteristics and approaches her job every day with a passion that permeates her classroom.
Hughes’ enthusiasm gushes out when prompted to talk about her students. “I feel so lucky to have the opportunity and honor to witness children learning to read books, write stories, and understand numbers.” But getting the basic lessons across is only a part of her teaching objective. “Beyond the academics, my greatest objective is helping shape children into respectful, responsible, kind, optimistic, empathetic, and confident human beings.”
Teaching young children requires a deep well of patience, a mountain of energy, and a rich source of creativity, all of which Carrie Hughes has in abundance.
Midland Principal Jim Boylan has high praise for his school’s honoree. “Mrs. Hughes brings a level of positive energy and creativity to her classroom — and to Midland School — each day. Her students are encouraged to grow both academically and socially as members of the Midland community.” He added, “We are so fortunate to have Carrie as a member of the faculty, as she constantly discovers new and culturally engaging events for the entire school to experience, enjoy, and learn from. She strives to do and be her best for her students each day, something that is clearly evident when you visit her classroom.”
Carrie Hughes’ teaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of allowing each child to learn and grow in their unique way, and at a rate that is appropriate for them. “The abilities and development in first graders are very diverse and each child deserves the time they need to grow as learners at their own individual pace,” she said. She feels children grow into their best selves, “by creating an exciting, fun, and trusting environment where they are not afraid to be themselves and to take educational risks.”
A 12-year-old former student wrote of her, “Since first grade, Mrs. Hughes has supported me in and out of school in many ways and has helped me and taught me so many useful things that I still use today. She is a very caring person who I think really deserves this award.”
A colleague echoes this praise. “Carrie puts her heart and soul not only into her children, but their families and the Rye community.” And her peers at Midland are the happy beneficiaries of her enthusiastic spirit, as described by one. “She is one of the most supportive colleagues I have encountered, consistently willing to sacrifice her time to help and support her colleagues.”
In the midst of all the glowing remarks made about Mrs. Hughes in the nomination process and at the ceremony at which she was honored earlier this year, her genuine humility stands out. “I don’t feel I am set apart from other teachers; the teachers I work with are a big part of who I am as a teacher and they motivate and inspire me, each and every day.
“To have my colleagues, whom I consider family, and the parents of my students, think of me as someone deserving of this honor, is a reward in and of itself. I am the teacher I am today because of the people I work with who inspire me and motivate me to be the best I can be.”
After twenty years at Midland School, Carrie Hughes says, “I am truly honored to work in Rye, where each day brings joy to my life. This is an incredible district and community and I am proud to be a part of it.”