A Well-deserved Award

Mrs. Leckie-Ewing recognized for skillful teaching

Alexis Spangler, Beat Assignment Editor

Forty years ago, Jon Saphier, the original Skillful Teacher, documented the skills and traits of an effective teacher. Today, the Skillful Teacher Video Award is an award given to a teacher to recognize and share their outstanding work. Recipients of this award are teachers who are working hard to put into practice the principles of Saphier. Last year, Hoover’s own English teacher Mrs. Gretchen Leckie-Ewing [pictured with Educators Rising] received second place for this national award. “The district office made me aware of the contest,” LeckieEwing said. “They knew I was trying to use discussion to help others learn, and thought it was perfect.” Leckie-Ewing has been a teacher for 19 years. Through being a teacher, she has been able to connect with her students. “I like being around young people,” she said. “I learn so much and stay so much younger at heart.” Being a teacher brings many obstacles. Leckie-Ewing finds that the most challenging part of teaching is giving each student what they need. However, she thinks that these hardships can be overcome by communication. “If you can communicate and meet each other halfway, you can do almost anything,” she said. It didn’t come as a surprise to seniors Madison Breyley and Lily Martin that Leckie-Ewing received nation recognition. In the classroom, they see firsthand how much she cares for her students. “I think Mrs. Leckie-Ewing was chosen for this award because she cares so much about her job and her students,” Breyley said. “She is always looking for ways to help us learn and help us become better people.” Martin echoed Breyley’s praise of Leckie-Ewing’s teaching
style, complementing her ability to initiate creative conversation between students. “[Leckie-Ewing] facilitates conversations between classmates that bring up new information or new interpretations to a literary work that we might not have thought of before,” Martin said. AP English teacher Miss Tiffany Walker believes LeckieEwing’s ability to engage her students is really what made her stand out as a candidate for this award. “She exemplifies what it means to be a strong, innovative educator, engaging students in creative ways to assure they are taking active roles in their own learning,” she said. “There is no doubt that she’s deserving of any award she receives.” It is no secret as to why Leckie-Ewing is such an admired educator in Hoover High School. Her dedication to her students coupled with her determination is commendable, and students and teachers alike applaud her hard work. “Her ability to get it — whatever it might be — done quickly and with great attention to detail is admirable,” Walker said. “She’s one determined lady who is always willing to go above and beyond the expectations. Anytime I need advice, she’s there to offer sound insight, and for that I’m grateful.” While Leckie-Ewing is thrilled to have been nationally recognized, she still considers some of her most coveted awards to be the accomplishments of her students. She loves nothing more than when she can see her students succeed, and values that more than anything. “I can’t identify my biggest accomplishment as a teacher,” Leckie-Ewing said. “I have hundreds and hundreds of little accomplishments. I love seeing where my students go and what they become. That time, is the most rewarding thing about being a teacher.”