Annual Meeting highlights

More than 1,000 delegates gathered in Boston Saturday morning to honor two Massachusetts educators at the opening of the second business session of the MTA's Annual Meeting.

An  MTA Special Recognition Award was given to 2006 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Suzanne Wintle.

Wintle has taught for 35 years, kindergarten through grade 6, and is currently a third-grade teacher at the Florence Sawyer School in the Nashoba Regional district.

As the district mentor program coordinator, Suzanne works with the Train the Trainers model, including classes that focus on the adult learner. This work, she said, is a "rewarding means to share with and learn from the next generation of teachers." She also facilitates Florence Sawyer's study group and leads workshops for new teachers on topics such as differentiated instruction and peer-coaching to improve parent-teacher communication.

As the 2006 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Suzanne has crisscrossed the state to meet with her peers in rural, suburban and urban districts. Reflecting on the year, she said: "My hope is that the workshops I have led, and the speeches I have given, have made a difference for some of these teachers. I know that meeting and working with so many dedicated professionals has had a profound influence on me ... and reinforced my belief in the importance that teachers play in the lives of our young people."

Kathleen Kelley, the retiring president of the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers, was the 2006 recipient of the MTA's Friend of Education Award.

Kelley began her career in 1967 as a first grade teacher in Boston. Ever since then, she has been a strong advocate for children and teachers in Massachusetts, both in the classroom and through her union. Among other roles, she has served as the elementary school field representative for the Boston Teachers Unions, president of the BTU, chief lobbyist for the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers and, for the past 13 years, president of the MFT. (The MFT changed its name to AFT Massachusetts at its annual convention on April 29.)

In granting her this award, the MTA honored Kelley for her role as teacher and leader "committed to advancing the rights and benefits of public education workers preK-graduate school" and also for her "advocacy on behalf of quality public education in Massachusetts."