Foods Teacher, Ms. Hayden serves sauce as a part of a cooking lesson to her students.

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield

Hayden’s hard work shines through 2016 Teacher of the Year award

November 30, 2016

Last month, foods teacher Christa Hayden was awarded the title 2016 Teacher of the Year. With 20 years of teaching under her belt, Hayden earned the title as a result of hard work, dedication to students, and passion for her subject matter.

The process of determining the Teacher of the Year is completely faculty driven.

“The teachers who are chosen are chosen by their peers,” Assistant Principal Melissa Thomas said. “We put out a [memo] to our staff and let them nominate their peers.  We had it down to four, and then those four nominees were chosen by the staff.”

When principal Malik Bazzell and Thomas presented Hayden with the title and flowers, Hayden was overcome with surprise.

“She was very excited; she’s been a nominee before, so I think she was excited to win,” Thomas said. “I think I scared her when we came in the room because she had her back turned to us, but I think she was just very excited.”

The award provoked much excitement; however, it was a shared belief among faculty and students that Hayden was truly deserving of this award.

Apparel teacher and 10 year colleague of Hayden, Deborah Rhodes commented on why Hayden was due the title.

“Ms. Hayden is dedicated and hardworking,” Rhodes said. “She loves the students, and she likes to interact with the kids by having fun as she’s teaching. She really deserves it because she works hard and works to bring out the best in her students.”

Senior Foods II student Bella Buccellato also believes that Hayden earned the Teacher of the Year title because of her dedication.

“She works really hard,” Buccellato said. “I know she has put in a lot of hours, especially in cleaning up the foods room and making it up to standards. She puts in a lot of extra hours, and she’s just very engaging and is always trying to help students pass or do better.”

Hayden’s hard work is shown both inside and outside of the classroom, as Hayden is involved in various leadership positions.

“I’m a Professional Learning Team leader, so I’m the leader of the Family Consumer Science Department. We meet once a week and we work on various things,” Hayden said. “I help teach the staff technology things, especially my friends this year who might need help with various technologies and apps. I’m a National Boards teacher, so I’m mentoring other teachers who are interested in achieving National Boards. I’m [also] FCCLA Co-advisor.”

The list goes on, as Hayden has taken over for a class that does not have a teacher, is a mentor and a peer observer. She was also a part of the Transition Committee that focused on the Ninth Grade Center transition.

On top of all of Hayden’s accomplishments, she has a true passion for her work that began at an early age.

“I’ve always been interested in food,” Hayden said. “When I was a teenager, I used to check out books from the library and type on a typewriter various recipes, and I was interested in health, so I was always looking at healthy recipes and nutrition type stuff.”

This early interest contributed to Hayden’s strong passion for her subject, which ultimately has helped her grow in her teaching.

“She loves her subject and is very good at it,” Thomas said. “She spends a lot of time outside of school keeping her skills up going to different professional development opportunities, so when she presents to students she tries to make it very relevant to them. She tries to make it very interesting to them because it is just something she’s very passionate about, and I think that that is one of the things that helps set her apart. She really just likes teaching it to kids.”

Hayden hopes to continue to inspire students through both her teaching and subject area.


— “Teaching Foods is something that they’re going to use everyday whether they’re eating or cooking at their house or in their future,” Hayden said. “I hope to inspire them to be passionate and to learn, always be a continual learner and to eat healthy and take care of themselves and fulfill whatever it is that they want to do with their future.”

The 2016 Teacher of the Year award is an honor, and Hayden is appreciative of all who have supported her along the way.

“I appreciate working with my co-workers,” Hayden said. “We have a lot of hard working teachers here, and many of them also deserve recognition.  They put in a lot of hours and a lot of effort, and I appreciate everything that they do here at this school.”

With this recognition, Hayden’s work is not finished yet, as her goal now serves to continue to improve and develop one of her subjects.

“I’m a continual learner, so I’m constantly learning new things,” Hayden said. “I would like to expand the Foods II program more since this is my first year teaching that. My goal is to enrich that program.”

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