Furr’s dedication to students wins the 2018 Teacher of the Year award


Staff Photo by Allie Mariotte

Ms. Furr, 2018 Teacher of the Year demonstrates “elephant toothpaste” experiment for her 4th period class.

Each year, Wakefield recognizes a teacher for the prestigious Teacher of the Year award. For this school year, Denise Furr earned the award due to her endless dedication and productive teaching style.

There is a process to receiving the Teacher of the Year award. In order for a teacher to earn this title, they have to be a veteran teacher, have taught at Wakefield for at least a year and nominated by a staff member with an explanation on why that certain teacher is deserving of the award. Once the nominees are in, the staff votes. Furr was chosen because of her passion for teaching and her students.

“She demonstrates every day that she is invested in her students,” Malik Bazzell, Principal of Wakefield, said. “She provides a good example of what you do as a teacher in the classroom, how you respond to the needs of your students, how you plan for instruction, how you anticipate misunderstanding and how you deal with it.”

Staff Photo by Allie Mariotte
Ms.Furr adds catalyst to to “elephant toothpaste” experiment.

The administrators of Wakefield presented the award and flowers to Furr, by announcing that she was the winner in front of her fourth-period class. She didn’t expect that she would be taking the title.

“I was really surprised,” Furr said. “The other teachers that were in the running too are so good, so it’s really an honor.”

Furr is a firm believer of forming a relationship with her students. Her ability to be relatable helps her understand the individual needs of each student, which enables them to thrive in her classroom. This is a value she carries within her class each and every day.

“I really enjoy getting to know my students and forming relationships with them,” Furr said. “I think that helps them be more successful because I know about their learning styles and personalities. I try to relate to them every day and interact with as many students as I can.”

Staff Photo by Allie Mariotte
Ms. Furr asks guiding questions to engage the class.

The students of Furr affirm that her relationship with them, and her willingness to help them, makes an immense impact in her classroom.

“Teaching doesn’t have to be outwardly exceptional. It’s the little things such as being attentive and looking out for students,” current AP Chemistry student, Rachael Moldow, said.

Amechi Asonye, a senior who had Furr for Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry, recounts that she always supported her students, even in the midst of hardship.

“[She was] really helpful and would never let you struggle on your own,” Asonye said.

Asonye encourages teachers to wholeheartedly commit to their students, similarly to Furr, because their students will forever have a great appreciation for them.

“Always work with students, because school is for the students,” Asonye said, “I’m here today because of [Furr].”