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 coronavirus pandemic. These Excellent Educators were nominated by their school divisions. Congratulations to these educators for all of their hard work and accomplishments!
Name: Barbara Toti
Division: Gates County Public Schools
Position: Theatre arts and instructional coach at Gates County High School
What the school division said about this Excellent Educator: Barbara Toti is a dedicated theatre arts teacher, instructional coach, and “jack of all trades” at Gates County High School.
Saddened by the traditions that were unavailable because of the coronavirus pandemic, Toti sought out ways to honor graduates of the class of 2020. She designed and ordered yard signs for the graduates and spearheaded a drive-through parade for them that included faculty and staff from all county schools. During the event, the graduates received t-shirts, baked goods, vinyl stickers, and several other gifts. Toti worked diligently to secure those items through community donations.
When the new year began, Toti created a virtual open house for our learning community by having staff create Flipgrid videos to introduce themselves to their students and parents. Toti worked with staff members who aren’t tech savvy to help them create their videos. She also turned her attention to the incoming freshmen class in order to plan a safe freshmen orientation for new Barons once face-to-face instruction began. Toti even ran the show when the administrative team ended up on quarantine during the three-day event.
To connect with her students and parents, Toti held parking lot meetings during the first semester when students were not allowed to come into the building. She also visited the homes of students she has not been able to reach during the pandemic. She works hard to make connections with students and their families.
Toti organized a virtual hike of the Appalachian Trail for students and staff as a way of keeping individuals active and engaged. Along the virtual walk, she provided information about various sites’ geography and history. Those who completed the walk earned donated Chick-fil-A rewards.
Two major school-community events that are special to Toti continued during the pandemic. She organized the Mama K Scholarship fundraiser in order to continue to support student and teacher scholarships. Additionally, she planned a virtual Tealsday celebration to remember and honor Gates County High School supporters who have been impacted by ovarian cancer.