Camelot Education Recognizes Teacher of the Year Recipients from Several of its Philadelphia Schools
Camelot Education recognizes outstanding, influential educators that have made a difference in the classroom and with their peers throughout the year. These individuals are honored as Teacher of the Year from their respective schools.
Teachers from several schools located in Philadelphia were recognized for their passion and commitment to teach students, allowing them to perform at their highest level. These teachers, along with their peers, make Camelot Education schools an outstanding educational partner with the School District of Philadelphia.
Excel Academy South: Kathryn Hargrove
Excel Academy South Executive Director Jarrad Muller says Kathryn Hargrove is one of the most brilliant teachers he has ever known. “She can run circles around anyone,” he says, as he talks of the breadth of content she covers in her English 4 class for seniors.
After five years working in a school district in northern Virginia, Hargrove joined Camelot Education excited for something different four years ago. She was attracted to Excel Academy South for the opportunity to work with a new student body using behavioral and academic approaches.
Every lesson Hargrove prepares has a long-term vision underneath it. “I want my students to be successful digital learners and researchers with the ability to think critically well after they graduate,” she said. To achieve this, she focuses on personalized studies, preparing a unique course guide for every student.
As the COVID-19 pandemic shifted to virtual learning, Hargrove wanted to ensure she maintained the same level of rigor. “I focused on giving my students the tools they need to learn on a digital scale.”
Seeing her excellent performance as English Department chair, Muller envisions Hargrove as an important part of Excel Academy South for many years to come.
Excel Middle Years Academy: J’Lani Price
J’Lani Price strives to be a perfect teacher in every way that he can.
Price’s goal this year was to incorporate more STEM education in his Social Studies classroom. “I wanted to make my lessons as relatable as possible so that students could grasp the importance in their daily lives.” When he taught students the history of the industrial revolution, he had them make little robots to discuss automation and its impact on the economy that they will soon enter.
Excel Middle Years Academy Executive Director Sadiqa Lucas credits Price’s ability to engage students in discussions with every topic. When she first interviewed him for his position three years ago, his enthusiasm stood out.
Price is thrilled to work for Camelot, a place he feels he can grow not only as a teacher, but as a person. This is the same attitude he takes in relating to his students. Outside the classroom, he founded a discussion group he called Boys to Men to show his male students how they can learn to give back to their community.
“By the end of the school year, we started to see change,” Price said of the group, as they began to internalize the importance of progressing and moving forward.
Inside and out of the classroom, Price makes an important difference in his students’ lives.
Excel Academy North: Brian Tittermary
One of Brian Tittermary’s strengths is his rapport and positive relationships with students and families, according to Executive Director Kevin Marx.
As a Health and Physical Education teacher at Excel Academy North, his teaching responsibilities are numerous. He manages his subjects with grace mixing physical education with health education superbly.
Tittermary continually finds ways to get kids to be more active. He teaches teamwork through team sports and teaches health through carefully prepared lesson plans and field trips to Philadelphia’s museums.
So much of his teaching meets the moment we are in.
“I always focus a part of the semester on infectious disease,” said Tittermary, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I teach ways to be safer and ways to be aware of sanitation and hygiene practices. A lot of the safety guidelines we are adhering to now – aside from the facemask – are things I have been teaching these last couple years.”
“I have the perfect class to try and focus on this to help answer questions of what is going on, what we can expect and ways to protect ourselves.”
Tittermary also stands out for his leadership among staff at professional development sessions. He enjoys the opportunity to share best practices and focus on new staff to provide support along the way.
His most important value is to listen to his students. “I learn from my students every day. You’d be surprised how much they can teach you.”
Camelot Academy: Keith Wilson
Keith Wilson, a Social Studies teacher at Camelot Academy, knows how important it is to treat students with sincere respect.
“If you treat your students with true respect, they will do the best that they can in your class,” said Wilson.
In return, Wilson has won the respect of his students and his colleagues.
“Keith is truly special in that he knows what kids are going through,” said Executive Director Gregory McCleary. “He cares for them and has become what kids can call ‘a solid object.’”
Wilson is committed to learning and growth in his job. Quoting Aristotle, he says that “we are what we repeatedly do and that excellence is a habit.” This year his focus was mastering his lesson planning, relating as best he can to individual students and relating to students as a whole.
When the school transitioned to online learning due to COVID-19, his empathy for students paid off. Teaching his students virtually, he had the understanding to know that each student has a different situation going on at home.
Always positive, Wilson saw the virtual learning period as a chance to leverage his student’s familiarity with technology. He became a guide in their process of becoming digital learners.
Wilson’s attitude and approach came as no shock to McCleary. “His professionalism, consistency – the way he models this is second to none.”