Erin Basilone celebrated as 2017-18 Teacher of the Year
Social Studies teacher lauded for knowledge, kindness
Posted on 06/12/2017
Erin Basilone TOY

Erin Basilone Hailed as being “that rare combination of a highly knowledgeable yet accessible educator,” Social Studies teacher Erin Basilone was named the First Flight High School Teacher of the Year for 2017-18.


Six other nominees for Teacher of the Year were honored as Distinguished Teachers in a ceremony in the FFHS rotunda on Monday that celebrated former winners of the award, all of this year’s nominees, staff members receiving pins for years of service, and staff members who are retiring or moving to other schools.


Basilone herself had nominated a colleague for the award, which was determined by a committee made up of past FFHS Teachers of the Year.


“I just feel like we’re all part of this extraordinary group,” Basilone said. “The margin between all of us is extremely slim on any given day, so I really appreciate the way administration was able to recognize everyone.”


The teachers who nominated Basilone highlighted her unique lesson plans with her Advanced Placement U.S. History and American History 2 classes as well as her work with the school’s PBIS program and pursuit of National Board certification as reasons she should represent FFHS as its Teacher of the Year.


The PBIS program -- Positive Behavior Intervention Support -- encourages students to be kind, responsible and/or respectful during the school day. This year, Basilone launched an email program that allowed students and staff to send encouraging notes to each other, making PBIS a popular part of the school year that students looked forward to every week.


When PBIS was mentioned by Pearce, several teachers in the audience smiled and could be seen mouthing “Erin Basilone” to each other.


“I’m overwhelmed and honored,” Basilone said. “Since I’ve come to First Flight three years ago, it’s really felt like a family and I’ve been so fortunate with the students I’ve been able to teach.”


Distinguished Teacher recognition for the other six nominees went to Lauren Deal, Jennifer Kinnisten, Christian Lowe, Joel Mount, Nancy Stevens and Joe Tyson.


Seven former Teachers of the Year came back for the ceremony, which included the unveiling of portraits of each Teacher of the Year since First Flight opened in 2004. Principal Tim Albert wanted each winner of the award to have a lasting tribute.


“Erin Basilone will begin the tradition of our Ring of Honor, where Teachers of the Year will be permanently displayed in the rotunda for students and guests to view when they enter the building,” Albert said.


Past Teachers of the Year at FFHS are: Caroline Pearce, Robin Sawyer, Tami Harper, Susan Blackwell, Bob Ebert, Dawn Edwards, Danielle James, Jane Shipman, Susan Allen, Brandon Harris, Monica DeFelice Penn, Skip Saunders and Lisa Duke.


“Teachers have few horns blown for them,” Pearce said during the ceremony, “and they are not inclined to blow their own horns. This is why we need to celebrate these special people today.”