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2024 Teacher of the Year - Marlene Mitchell-Golding

Marlene Mitchell-Golding
The Pursuit of Teaching: The Journey
My name is Marlene Mitchell-Golding, a dedicated teacher who has been impacting the lives of students for the past twenty-four years. I am honored and humbled to serve as Teacher of the Year for Lee County School District and represent my school, West Lee Elementary. Teaching is an ingrained passion that I knew I had to pursue. Of course, there were motivating forces that gave me the inspiration to walk in my calling, which included several teacher-mentors as well as the innate passion for supporting the children of my community. My dream of becoming a teacher led me to the Bethlehem Teachers College in Jamaica, where I earned a diploma in teaching in 1999. This would later propel me to a Bachelor of Education degree at Knox College, Jamaica, in 2008. Having a zeal for lifelong learning, I pursued a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2019 through the American College of Education. Along the journey, I have also co-authored a language arts textbook series that serves children in grades one and two in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

The philosophy that drives my desire to teach is found in the principles of self-determination in Kujichagulia that teach four simple ideologyies: 1) to define ourselves, (2) to name ourselves, (3) create for ourselves and (4) speak for ourselves. This is my thinking that children can be motivated to become who they want to be.

As an accomplished educator, I am currently pursuing the National Board Certification (NBCT) in order to effectively hone my craft. To add to my repertoire of competencies, I successfully completed the mentorship and evaluator training with the focus on SC Teaching Standards 4.0 Rubric in August 2023. My educational experience has been an exciting adventure that took me Professional Biography Mitchell-Golding, Marlene from my home country to teach in the United States in 2016. I have been employed in the Lee County School District for the past three years, teaching second grade at West Lee Elementary School. In this capacity, I create a classroom environment where my students are excited about learning as I use their interests and fascinations to create learning experiences for them. There is always an activity taking place in my classroom because I am a firm believer in the educational value of project-based learning where students are developing, constructing, and connecting learning to real world experiences. At the end of the school year, my students became published authors, marked by a celebration of their effort with the school and their families.

Service above self is a distinguishing hallmark that has driven me to care for the poor and indigent in my home country through a program I initiated that is dubbed “Touch of Love.” Even though I have transitioned to a new land, my enthusiasm for service has been fueled even more through feeding the homeless and caring for the elderly in the community. The French designer, Coco Chanel, who ruled over Parisian haute couture for several decades
penned, “If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” This is my mantra as I continue to make my mark in a profession that has given me so much fulfillment. My teaching is constantly improving; the pedagogical skills I used in the past have been revamped, and every day brings a new opportunity for learning. I am thankful for the vast opportunities I have found in my school and district through the ongoing professional development sessions that show me constantly evolving as a teacher, and so, the journey continues.