Catherine Duplisea, a teacher at Orchard STEM School, is one of four finalists for 2019 A Ohio Teacher of the Year.
The others finalists are Mona Al-Hayani of Toledo Early College High School, Bre Sambuchino of Loveland High School near Cincinnati and David Kaser of Barberton High School.
A panel of education and community stakeholders will interview the four teachers and pick a winner who will be announced in the fall. The state winner will compete for the National Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
A former kindergarten teacher, Duplisea is now her school's STEM lead model teacher, helping to plan and facilitate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons with a focus on technology integration using iPads. In 2016, Apple supplied an iPad for every Orchard student as part of the White House's ConnectEd initiative.
Last year, Duplisea was one of 10 winners in the second annual Excellence in Teaching Award program, a partnership between the George Gund and Cleveland foundations, the school district and the Cleveland Teachers Union. She also received the state's master teacher designation last school year.
Duplisea is entering her 13th year as a teacher and her fifth with CMSD.
She works with all of Orchard's teachers and students, providing innovative lesson ideas and assisting in classrooms when new approaches are introduced. Orchard STEM has adopted computer coding in every grade and students in most classrooms produce digital portfolios. Classes are using green-screen technology and teachers are moving more toward the role of facilitator for students who are problem solving, exploring, creating and enjoying learning.
"My passion for teaching in urban education stems from a burning desire in my soul to live a life of service and do my part in closing opportunity gaps," Duplisea said after receiving the District 11 award. "I am honored to be on such an amazing team of educators in CMSD.I will continue to proudly represent our scholars, educators and community, shedding light on the joyous innovation and creativity we see in our classrooms each day."