Katie Fagundes
Special to the Sun

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June 11, 2013
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Glenshire Elementary educator ninth Teacher of the Year finalist

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year committee has selected Theresa Charter as the ninth Teacher of the Year finalist. Charter, who teaches first grade at Glenshire Elementary, was recognized for her creative and compassionate manner.

“With Theresa’s engaging and compassionate personality, she allowed me to see the best in every child, even the tough ones,” wrote one parent nominator, who volunteered in Charter’s classroom.

Glenshire Elementary Principal Kathleen Gauthier described Theresa as kind, caring, warm, and loving.

“First grade is a challenging year, but (Charter’s) students learn first and foremost that they are capable and cared for,” said Gauthier.

On May 29, Shelly Wright of Plumas Bank; Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun; and Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS, presented Charter with a Teacher of the Year finalist certificate, a $50 gift certificate to Office Boss, courtesy of Plumas Bank, and a $50 gift certificate from Truckee Hometown SEARS.

Originally, from the Bay Area Theresa Charter attended California State University Sacramento. There she studied Liberal Arts and Teaching, earning her BA and Elementary teaching credential. She went on to earn a MA in Special Education and two Special Education teaching credentials.

Charter’s first years teaching were spent in Mt. Diablo Unified School District. She then decided with her husband to move to Tahoe because they loved the mountains.

Charter started working for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District as a substitute teacher. She enjoyed working with all the different grades at multiple schools. Charter taught fourth- and fifth-grade Special Education at Truckee Elementary before joining the staff at Glenshire. She first taught K-5 Special Education at Glenshire, but has been teaching first grade there for the past 15 years.

Charter loves first grade.

“The children’s energy is contagious,” said Charter. “Every day they make me smile and laugh.”

Charter enjoys working with her students as they gain social and academic independence. She supports students’ new reading skills by pairing them with fourth-grade reading buddies and encourages them to read with their parents and siblings.

In addition to stories, students read many nonfiction books about their interests. Charter is excited to greet them each day at the door as they carry in their little green book bags.

“They are eager, always have something to share and can’t wait to learn,” said Charter. “They are just very inspiring.”

Charter finds a balance in her classroom between sharing, exploring and hands-on projects. She uses learning centers, small group work and pair sharing to encourage students to communicate with each other and express themselves.

“Her creativity keeps the students motivated and interested in their learning,” wrote one parent nominator.

Charter breaks the school day up into multiple activities but students are prepared for each because of established routines and a positive atmosphere. She is very proud of her students and makes sure to celebrate their accomplishments and encourages them to have pride in their work.

“Theresa is a master at differentiated instruction and reaching each and every one of her students,” wrote one parent nominator. “She truly enjoys her students and watching them grow.”

Charter is grateful to be a part of a great team of teachers that constantly talks about the best ways to serve the students.

“I love the team of teachers I work with, everyone is always sharing fresh new ideas and it’s motivating,” said Charter. “I feel lucky.”

Charter feels the same about the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, and describes collaborators as excited and always sharing.

She is happy to have worked in the same district for so many years and loves it when she runs into former students in the store. She can still see the first grader in their 20-year-old faces.

Charter responds humbly to her nomination and clearly feels she is just doing her job.

“Teachers have to give students the absolute best experience,” said Charter. “They entrust us, all the teachers, to care.”

Nominators praise Charter for a job well done.

“She is an incredibly positive person that brightens anyone’s day who is lucky enough to encounter her,” wrote one parent. “We are truly fortunate to have Theresa Charter in TTUSD.”

As the school year comes to an end the Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year committee has a few more teachers they would like to recognize and spotlight in upcoming articles.

The committee is no longer accepting nominations, but if you would like to send additional comments on any of this year’s nominees please email tahoetruckeeteacheroftheyear@gmail.com.

Representatives from sponsors Plumas Bank, Sierra Sun and Truckee Hometown SEARS will announce the Teacher of the Year this summer.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 12, 2013 09:59AM Published Jun 13, 2013 12:53PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.