Edinboro University alumna Rebecca Foxwell, M’14, has been named the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Foxwell was honored by state Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera at the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s annual professional development conference, the SAS Institute, at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center on December 7.
“I believe that there truly is no greater joy than having the privilege of investing in the lives of children by providing them with a quality education that allows each student to be successful,” Foxwell said of the recognition. “I was truly humbled and honored to be selected as the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and be able to serve as a spokesperson and representative for this amazing profession.”
Foxwell, 29, who has been teaching first grade at Lickdale Elementary School in Northern Lebanon School District for five years, was selected over 11 other finalists in the competition, which is co-sponsored by the state Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year. As the state Teacher of the Year, Foxwell will travel the state to speak with other educators and will represent Pennsylvania in the 2016 National Teacher of the Year competition.
“I cannot wait to get to meet many of the talented, dedicated, and passionate teachers across our state this year. The role that education plays in our community and world is invaluable. Education equips students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to become successful critical thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and responsible and active members of society,” she continued. “Teaching is not a solo act and I believe that we can learn so much from each other. Ongoing collaboration is key to strengthening and improving the teaching profession. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas, best practices, and resources with educators this year in Pennsylvania and then nationally as I represent the Commonwealth during next year’s National Teacher of the Year competition.”
Outside of the classroom, Foxwell is passionately creative, and enjoys decorating and refinishing furniture. She also enjoys writing, and has gone so far as to combine her appreciation of the written word with her love of teaching to create her own personal teaching blog, foxwellforest.blogspot.com.
She earned her Masters of Education in Reading from EU in 2014. Her undergraduate degree is from Lancaster Bible College.
“I was drawn to the quality and flexibility of Edinboro University’s Masters of Education in Reading program. The online format was a perfect fit for my family as I balanced getting my master's and teaching full-time. The classes were engaging and pertinent, the professors were experts in their field and invested in our lives as students, and I walked away with valuable skills and tools that could immediately be implemented into my classroom,” Foxwell explained of her decision to pursue her master’s degree at EU. “All teachers, regardless of the subject they teach, are teachers of reading and this program helped equip me to be an effective reading teacher. A highlight of my time at Edinboro was the on-campus experience of taking reading clinic with Dr. Kenny. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to work with professors, like Dr. Kenny, and get my master’s in Reading from Edinboro University.”
At the Teacher of the Year event, each nominated educator was introduced by one of his or her students, with Lickdale Elementary School fifth grader Brian Lowen doing the honors for Foxwell. He described her as someone who is "dedicated to being the best teacher she can be. She is passionate about teaching and really loves working with her students. Her students are her top priority," according to PennLive.
“I have always wanted to be teacher! Teaching is not just my profession—it’s my passion,” Foxwell concluded. “My heart comes alive when I am in the classroom working with my students. I love being able to creatively engage my students in fun and meaningful ways as we learn. Students are the heart of education—their success, in all facets of life, is what drives me to be the best teacher I can be.”