West Hartford 2018 Teacher of the Year Announced

Sonya Stemmer. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Sedgwick Middle School Language Arts teacher Sonya Stemmer has been named West Hartford’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.

By Ronni Newton

Sonya Stemmer was announced as the 2018 Teacher of the Year Thursday evening at the annual West Hartford Education Association/West Hartford Administrator’s Recognition Dinner held at the Farmington Club.

When she was asked why she thought she was nominated for Teacher of the Year at a reception for the three finalists earlier this month, Stemmer responded, “Honestly I think it’s that I have really great students. I’m in my 20th year of teaching and the students make it easy. They’re incredibly endearing.”

In addition to teaching eighth grade language arts at Sedgwick, Stemmer is also a team leader. She is described by her peers as energetic, and someone who connects with students who may not otherwise connect with school.

Middle school can be a challenging time for students, but Stemmer said she loves that age group, and interacting with students who are in transition from kids to young adults. “Every day is different, an adventure. They are still innocent enough to be kids,” she said at the reception for finalists, adding that the middle school sense of humor has grown on her.

When he announced the Teacher of the Year finalists to the Board of Education, Superintendent Tom Moore said that Stemmer “is in every way, shape, and form a teacher.” The very first sentence of her application to West Hartford Public Schools, which he still remembers from six years ago, was: “I consider it s privilege to be a teacher.” Moore added that in reality, West Hartford is privileged to have her here.

Stemmer started teaching in West Hartford in August 2012, as a language arts teacher and program facilitator for the Alternative Individualized Middle School Program, and had previous experience in Bristol and Waterbury. In addition to English, she has taught theater, and in an alternative school, adult education, and special education.

Stemmer has a B.A. in English with a minor in theatre arts from Rosemont College and an M.S. in educational leadership from the University of Scranton.

Stemmer and her husband, Frank, and their three children (ages 8-16) live in Bristol.

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