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April Dawn Hobson

April Dawn Hobson (WV '09)

Teacher

At the time of the Award, April Dawn Hobson was:

Teacher
James Monroe High School
Lindside, WV

http://www.youtube.com/user/hobbie210

Grade(s): Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Biographical Information

The students in April Hobson’s ninth-grade English class are reading up a storm at James Monroe High School in Lindside, WV. Hobson assigns her students 25 books per school year, more than many college classes. Hobson asks this much of her students because she knows the benefit is more than worth the effort. As someone who underestimated the importance of education in her early life, Hobson’s commitment now to her students reaffirms her own personal journey and success as an educator.

A troubled teen, Hobson was expelled from high school and did not return. After becoming a mother she decided to educate herself as well as her children, earning her GED and enrolling her children in Head Start. Eventually she became the president of the Head Start Policy Council, which inspired her to pursue a college diploma. Not only did she graduate from college with a degree in education, she did so with honors, magna cum laude. Only six years later, Hobson serves as chair of the English department at James Monroe High School.

With each new class, Hobson shares her passion and respect for learning with a new generation of students. She arranges multiple fieldtrips to historical landmarks that reinforce or relate to the books they are reading. She created an ambassador program where her students mentor youngsters in preschool and kindergarten. Hobson also established a pen pal program for her students to practice their writing skills and realize the value of communication across different perspectives and nationalities. Hobson oversees the teen leadership program as well, equipping students with the responsibility and appreciation for learning that she has come to treasure.


Personal Message

Abuse took me from my own birth family at the age of five; astonishingly, the events and path of my life never caused resentment. In fact, it made me more aware of mercy, compassion and empathy than possible had I not suffered. There were still struggles and pain as I learned how to listen and communicate. At a very early age, it became much more important to know how the other person felt than to agree. By twenty-four, I was celebrating my eighth year of marriage and the birth of my third child. Farm life was less than a modest living though so working outside the home became a logical consideration. Farm wife and mother or the hero a five-year-old had imagined me as when I would read to my very own class of baby dolls and teddy bears, a teacher. From my GED to six twenty-one hour semesters consecutively to magna cum laude honors and two college diplomas to teacher certification to teacher, I had complete support and encouragement from my husband, mother-in-law and children. I recognized the gifts of listening and communicating and accepted my calling as a teacher, wanting very much to be a part of an educational community who focused on Capturing Kids' Hearts. (I became an advocate of this when I participated in Flip Flippen’s training as a parent.) Teaching has always been a blessing for me; however, there are some aspects that have made it difficult. Those challenges taught me it is necessary to be part of a positive staff, which not only teaches, but learns from each other, regardless of age, race, size, religion, money or previous actions. I seek a position with a faculty who will benefit from my strengths and hold all accountable for excellence and professionalism. I have often thought of opening my own school, particularly for the students who struggle in the typical public education classroom because of the one-size-fits-all mentality. However, experience has taught me well that my ability to be effective alone will never match what I can with a team of individuals headed in the same direction with like goals. I am not anxious to gain employment; instead it is more important to be able to teach in an organization where the staff and students are willing to work together so that everyone’s best stands out and will hold out until I can find it. Believing in a greater power than can be seen, knowing that I learn from every person I encounter and caring that my students know we are equals in the learning equation combined with hard work, tears and prayers have blessed me with more success than I ever dreamed possible in ten years of teaching. The time my students and I spend learning and teaching each other creates a bond that is forever. Each one is a piece of me now. I don’t just want a job or to work; I have to be able to teach with my heart, not only the book! There are successful learning facilities that hold all accountable for their best teaching and learning and consistently make the students and teachers’ best interest the first priority.

Additional Information

Degrees/Certifications

1999 Bluefield State College, A.S. Paralegal

2003 Bluefield State College, B.S. K-9 Education/English


Awards/Honors

2010 Joe Manchin Certificate of Recognition MEA, 2010

2008 West Virginia State Finalist Teacher of the Year, 2008

2009 State of West Virginia Legislative Citation for MEA Exceptional Educational Talent, 2009

2007 Honorary Graduation Speaker and Recipient of JMHS Diploma from Class of 2007

2007 Monroe County Teacher of the Year, 2007

2003 President’s List/Dean’s List 12/12 semesters in college, 1996-2003

2002 Alpha Chi Honor Scholarship Society, 2002

2000 Who‘s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, 2000

2000 Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, 2000


Expertise
National High Schools That Work Conferences – Nashville, TN & New Orleans, LA, National Tech Schools That Work Conference – Atlanta, GA, West Virginia Virtual School Facilitator, Implementing Gene Bottoms Make it or Break It Year, Ruby Paine Framework for Understanding Poverty Trainers, Flippen Capturing Kids Hearts , Flippen Teen Leadership Certification , Career Choices (Focus on Freshmen – Dropout Prevention) Certification , Scheduling Committees, Block, 6 Period, 7 Period, 8 Period and TRIMESTER, English Department Chair 2007 - 2012, Freshmen Academy, implemented at our school

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