CHICAGO — American College of Education graduate D. Craig Andrysczyk, a fifth-grade mathematics and science teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary School in Lexington/Richland School District 5, is among five finalists in the South Carolina's State Teacher of the Year Program. Andrysczyk, who is referred to as "Math Daddy," said he became a teacher because he was a struggling student growing up and a number of teachers in his home state of Wisconsin took time with him, which inspired his choice of profession. In order to help others as he was helped, he teaches from the back of the classroom so he can identify struggling students and guide them.
A 20-year veteran of teaching who received his undergraduate degree from Columbia International University, he is also a mentor and gets involved with his students outside the classroom, literally getting in the game at recess assuring that everyone gets a chance to participate.
The master's of education leadership he received from American College of Education made a difference in his teaching as well as his receiving the District of the Year award, a precursor to the state award, Andrysczyk said. "The coursework taught reflective teaching," he said. "A lot of what was being covered in class helped me think through what I needed to think about as I was completing my application for the teacher of the year program," he said. "They went hand in hand."
He credits American College of Education with teaching him the difference between the assessment of learning and the assessment for learning. "The coursework helped me strengthen and evaluate my pedagogy — how I teach so students can learn," Andrysczyk said. "A student does not get a failing grade on a quiz, but a student's performance on a quiz lets me know if he or she is going in the right direction."
The announcement of South Carolina's 2011-12 Teacher of the Year will be made at the corporate-sponsored Teacher of the Year celebration April 27 in Columbia. During the next school year, that teacher will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement and serve as a statewide ambassador for the profession. The winner will also receive a $25,000 cash award. The four remaining finalists, or Honor Roll teachers, will receive $10,000 each, and all district teachers of the year will receive $1,000 each.
About American College of Education
American College of Education is solely dedicated to providing educators the most affordable, high-quality online master's degree programs in education. The College's vision is to dramatically improve student performance by enhancing the instructional effectiveness of teachers through transformative technology and innovative online learning. American College of Education is based in Chicago, Illinois. It currently serves online students nationally and internationally. American College of Education is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA). For more information about American College of Education, visit www.ace.edu.