OCPS names Teacher of the Year
For 20 years Christina Arenth has taught deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Lake Sybelia Elementary in Maitland. On Tuesday, loud cheers filled the Rosen Centre Hotel ballroom as it was announced she won Orange County Public Schools 2018 Teacher of the Year.
“I’m in shock,” she said, as she approached the microphone bouquet in-hand after her name was announced the winner out of five previously named finalists from across the county.
“I’m honored to have been a part of this whole process,” she said. “Much less having been selected as teacher of the year.”
The other teachers nominated for the county’s top prize for 2018 included: Elizabeth Eskin of Timber Creek High; Jennifer Gautier of Lake Nona High; Mandi Kraemer of Freedom High; and Eric Yuhasz of Howard Middle.
Arenth is an Exceptional Student Education pre-K teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing at Lake Sybelia, with more than 30 years of experience in the classroom. She is also a Master Teacher for the Learn Together Project, a nationwide network pairing college students with practicing teachers of the deaf.
“I’ve reaped the benefits of the wisdom and experience of the teachers who came before me, and I’ve been inspired by the fresh ideas and enthusiasm of the new teachers entering the profession, including two of my daughters,” she said as she accepted her award.
Orange County Public Schools recognized Arenth for her ability to implement classroom lessons that focus on growing vocabulary and improving her preschoolers’ social skills that have been impacted by their hearing loss.
In her acceptance speech, she thanked the team of teachers, parents, social workers, audiologists, therapists, interpreters and psychologists that she’s worked with over the years – all with the goal of meeting the needs of her deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
“I’m a better teacher with my team,” she said. “We must, as educators, support, promote and be a part of a team despite the agendas, requirements and restraints placed upon us.
We are stronger together. My hope is that we all can go back to our individual schools with renewed commitment to do what we know is right for our students.”