First-grade teacher and MTEA member Mai Xiong was named Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony today at MPS’ Academy of Accelerated Learning (AAL).
State Superintendent Tony Evers told students and staff who were gathered for the assembly, “All great schools have one thing in common: great teachers. One of the star teachers in our state is here at AAL. Please help me welcome and honor the 2015 Elementary Teacher of the Year, Mai Xiong.”
MTEA president Kim Schroeder recognized and congratulated Xiong, presenting her with an MTEA tote bag and an MTEA “standing strong” t-shirt.
As Xiong accepted the award, she acknowledged her students and colleagues. “Every day I come to school, I see smiles, I see children who are eager to learn. I give credit to all of my colleagues. They have helped me develop into the teacher that I am today. This award is not only my award, it’s the award of all the children here as well as all my colleagues.”
Looking out into the audience, Xiong realized that her parents and other relatives were also present to celebrate the occasion, and recognized the importance of their support as well.
Xiong began her teaching career at MPS’ Story School in 1998, and has been at AAL since 1999. As someone for whom English was a second language, she is passionate about improving education for children who are English language learners. She also stresses the importance of integrating parents into their children’s education: “I believe a student’s number one teacher is the parent, and educational success is most achievable when there is evident teamwork between parents, teachers, and community.”
After the award ceremony, Xiong said, “I never thought I would receive an award for doing what I love.”