The MASTER POTTER EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARD is designed to recognize the teacher who embodies the qualities of high standards, professionalism, and dedication to students.
Jackie Seaton turned her second grade classroom into a pirate ship and she was the captain that navigated her students as they learned about the ocean and then landed in a rainforest.
"I get an idea and I run with it," Mrs. Seaton said. That has been her style for the 39 years she taught first and second grades at Jefferson Elementary.
Her energy, creativity and love of students were recognized on May 23, 2012. Mrs. Seaton received the 2012 Master Potter award at the all-staff meeting in the Bertha Frank Performing Arts Center at Morton High School
The award recognizes an outstanding District 709 educator and was established by the Board of Education as a tribute to someone who exemplifies the qualities of high standards, professionalism and dedication to students.
Her dedication to District 709 will continue even though she is retiring as a classroom teacher.
"I'm not quitting yet," she said. Mrs. Seaton will be the librarian at Jefferson School starting in the fall of 2012.
In the nomination letters, parents and teachers described Mrs. Seaton as a team player, collaborator and a sounding board. They also said she loves her students and makes sure they know it. Her kindness, nurturing spirit and sense of humor allows students to reach new heights without fear of failure.
Mrs. Seaton and her husband, Rod, have two children - Andrew and his wife Lilli and five-year-old grandson, Augie; and daughter, Olivia, and her husband, Joe.
Mrs. Seaton is one of ten staff members that retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year. We asked her to reflect on her career.
What have you learned from your students? "I've learned patience and that a good sense of humor can go a long way within the walls of the classroom. The kids have kept me feeling young and taught me as much about life as I hope I've taught them.
What advice would you give a first year teacher? "Go with the flow. Things will never turn out the way you think they will - the computer won't work, the kids won't get it, or you won't be able to find the book you needed. At the end of the day, it all works out in its own way.
During my career I learned: "I learned to appreciate each child for what they have to offer. No two are alike and that's what makes each year so interesting.
Master Potter Awards:
2011 - Marlynn "Mike" GunnMrs. Gunn retired in 2011 after 37 years as a teacher in District 709. "I've loved working here. It goes by really fast so you young teachers, it's a blink of the eye," Mrs. Gunn said. She was hired by District 709 out of college and taught first, second and third grades during her career. She was at Groveland School for 10 years, six years at Jefferson School and 21 years at Grundy School. During that time Mrs. Gunn had over 900 students.
2010 - Jeff MillardMr. Millard came to Morton in the fall of 1977 after five years in another school district. He also coached at both the junior high and high school, mostly baseball. Mr. Millard retired at the end of the 2010 school year but will continue to coach baseball.
2009 - Rick Everetts Mr. Everetts taught at MHS for 32 years in the business education department. He mentored many teachers during his career and was known for a tireless work ethic and often being the first teacher at school each day and the last one to leave.
2008 - Dale Nannen Mr. Nannen started his career in 1974 and was an industrial technology teacher. He was known for inspiring students to do their best and helping students find and develop their interests and talents. He was described as a team player that "made things happen."
2007 - Missy Garretson Miss Garretson continues to teach sixth grade at Lincoln Elementary. She is considered a role model for both students and staff. She listens to students and learns about their interests. Sheila Taylor, principal at Lincoln School said she this, "She is insightful reflective and genuine. For this reason when Miss Garretson speaks, others listen."
2006 - Andie Tinnes Miss Tinnes was the first recipient of the Master Potter award. She retired at the end of the 2005-06 school year after 39 years at Jefferson School. She ended her career teaching 4th grade. She had a way of making each student feel important. A former student "thinks of her as the teacher who taught them more than the inside of books. She taught life skills and how to treat others... on top of everything, she is fun." Another former student said, "She was my favorite teacher in the world because she motivated me and pushed me to excel and keep trying in life."