A seventh grade mathematics teacher at New Castle Middle School, Stacey Tolle considers herself a perpetual student. In her pursuit to become a better educator, she takes on the posture of learner, listening to all voices—friends, parents, colleagues, family, students, staff—for she believes no idea is too small, no opinion insignificant. She is constantly trying out new ideas and techniques, with an emphasis on the relational aspect of teaching. She has found that when she takes the time to listen carefully to students, building rapport and trust, the inevitable challenges become more manageable and the previously unthinkable becomes possible.
Stacey is committed to being accessible to students and has an open door policy. Some days her classroom serves as a place for students to read or get tutored in math, and at other times a safe space for students in need; but mostly, it is an area for students to feel comfortable and respected. Stacey is also invests time beyond her classroom duties—leading her department’s textbook adoption process, providing professional development for teachers in math and technology, and mentoring new teachers.