Excellent Educators is a WAVY-TV 10 initiative to celebrate local teachers who have gone above and beyond for their students and communities during the last academic year. These Excellent Educators were nominated by their school divisions. Congratulations to these educators for all of their hard work and accomplishments!

Name: April Blackwell

Division: Hertford County Public Schools

Position: 6th grade English language arts teacher at Hertford County Middle School

What the school division said about this Excellent Educator: April Blackwell is a veteran educator of 21 years, a sixth grade English language arts teacher, a grade-level chairperson, a track and field coach, and is loved by many.

Blackwell goes above and beyond to ensure that all of her students are nurtured, provided instruction that is relevant to their success, have supplies on a daily basis, and most importantly, are nourished in order to have a great school day. Blackwell incorporates creativity by moving beyond simply teaching a skill, but helping students become a part of what’s being taught, which results in the creation of a final product.

She recently taught a lesson on poetry and figurative language. Instead of just teaching the vocabulary and asking students to explain what certain lines in the poems meant, Blackwell helped students become poets. As they learned and discussed the various forms of poetry, students used their own creations to conduct Socratic Seminars. They discussed how the use of figurative language could enhance their writing. Each student created 10 different poems and select their favorite. They also explained what they enjoyed most and least about that particular poem and why. Each student will have their poem included in a class book of poetry.

On student used her poems to provide insight to what she was feeling inside. The assignment gave her a safe space to express what she was going through. Blackwell was happy to give her that outlet. Even though she didn’t want to include her poems in the class book, the student decided to leave it with the teacher for someone who might need it at some point.

Blackwell works tirelessly with her team to help students transition throughout the school day. She always remains positive and exudes that same energy daily through acts of giving and serving. Blackwell is to be commended for the great rapport she has with her students and making lessons realistic, yet enjoyable, for them.