Tom St. George now in running for statewide honors
Norwich - Kelly Middle School teacher Tom St. George's sixth-grade students quizzed him Thursday on why the superintendent was there to visit him and why she brought balloons.
He told the students that school administrators were celebrating their successes, their community service and their parents' involvement in their school work.
Superintendent Abby Dolliver surprised St. George Thursday with the presentation of the Norwich Teacher of the Year award. He was selected from the five nominees this year, including his cousin, Sara St. George at Wequonnoc School. He now will be in the running for the statewide honor.
Tom's wife, Jessica St. George, also was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award at Norwich Free Academy this year.
Tom St. George, 43, in his 10th year of teaching after he left a career in banking, admitted being "excited and nervous" at winning the Norwich public schools award. He thanked teaching mentors, principals at schools where he has worked, his wife and family and his mother, Mary St. George, who raised him and his younger sister as a single parent.
St. George said that during his time as a banking trainer for Fleet Bank, he taught classes in downtown Norwich and was able to substitute teach at NFA. He was hooked and left the higher-paying banking job to return to school to get his master's degree in teaching.
He started in Norwich as an intern and then served as student teacher before becoming a reading teacher at Wequonnoc eight years ago. He spent most of his teaching career at Veterans' Memorial School before moving to become the sixth-grade social studies teacher at Kelly Middle School this year.
"It's been a nice fit," he said.
Dolliver said St. George has embraced technology in teaching and student evaluation, has gotten his students involved in community service and has written grant applications.
St. George has established ties with NFA and has taken students there for field trips on diversity and ethnic history. In September, he is planning to host a D-Day for diversity with NFA, which will include the NFA Spread the Word campaign against insulting words.
To encourage Kelly students to exhibit good behavior and good citizenship, St. George put his own head on the line this year. He pledged to allow students who earn enough positive behavior Kelly Cougar Coupons to shave his head on the last day of school.