Brown named Teacher of the Year

Eighth-graders Ruby Garcia and Yanica Rasaphone are nervous about going to high school next year. They’re confident they will be prepared come fall though, because their teacher, David Brown, is making sure of it.

Garcia and Rasaphone spent seventh and eighth grade with the 16-year veteran who was named Tuesday the Austin Education Association’s 2011 Teacher of the Year.

“He makes sure you feel comfortable with everything you’re learning,” Garcia said. “And, if you’re having a bad day, he’ll just make your day by making you laugh.”

Brown teaches in the EXCEL program at Ellis Middle School, which provides extra learning support for students. The Duluth-transplant spent his first 10 years of teaching at Sumner Elementary.

“It’s humbling to be in their company,” Brown said of being named to the roster of AEA teachers of the year.

In addition to his work in the classroom, Brown also coordinates the Character Counts program at Ellis and has expanded the program to the YMCA and various day cares; he coaches at both the middle and high school levels; serves on Ellis’ site team; and serves on numerous district committees.

Brown said he enjoys working in the EXCEL program because of the opportunities to see such growth in his students.

Rasaphone said all of the students love his sense of humor.

“He makes the whole class laugh all the time… and he’s teaching us everything we really need to know before high school.”

Teachers of the Year are selected among nominees by a seven-member committee of AEA former teachers of the year.

A Minnesota State Teacher of the Year will be named next school year, and a National Teacher of the Year next spring.

“It’s nice to have validation that what I am doing is right,” Brown said. “I just like watching them (students) succeed.”

Brown, along with the nominated Teachers of Excellence, will be honored in a celebration of the District 492 teaching staff this fall.