John Sell of Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown was named Delaware’s 49th Teacher of the Year.
Governor Jack Markell made the announcement during a banquet at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino on Tuesday evening. A total of 19 teachers, one from each district in the state, were nominated for the honor.
“Last night when I heard the news, it was just complete shock,” said Sell. “It’s incredibly surprising and the most overwhelmingly humbling experience I’ve ever had professionally.”
Sell, an English teacher, has worked at Sussex Tech for the past 11 years and has 21 years of teaching experience.
He was nominated for the award by his colleagues as well as administrators, students and parents, who wrote letters of recommendation to the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. Sell said the award is a reflection of the support he receives at school.
“Tech has some outstanding teachers, in fact, me being named teacher of the year is really just an amalgamation of all the things I gathered from other teachers at the building and put my own spin on them. So, its really an award that recognizes their talents as much as mine,” said Sell.
Sell has created a reputation for making learning fun by using technology to teach and engage students.
“I use a lot of technology to make the curriculum available to the students 24/7,” said Sell. “It makes communicating with students and their parents’ seamless. They turn in assignments on their smartphones, all over the county whenever something is due.”
As Teacher of the Year, Sell will represent teachers of Delaware and meet with legislators and educational organizations on behalf of Delaware schools. He said he’s looking forward to sharing his teaching experiences and learning new techniques from other schools.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people across the country and hearing what’s going on in other states and the great things that are happening around the county,” said Sell. “Maybe we can bring some of that back here to Delaware. Beyond that, it’s showcasing to the rest of the county how great Delaware really is. I think we are a cut above other states and I look forward to sharing what’s going on here.”
Sell will receive an $18,000 educational technology package from SMART Technologies and a $5,000 grant for educational purposes and two personal grants totaling $5,000 from the General Assembly. He will also receive grants from the American Institutes for Research; grants from the Delaware State Education Association, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Professional Standards Board.
He plans to meet with his coworkers and administrative team to decide on the best use for the money.
“I’m sure we’ll find a way to put it to good use,” said Sell. “I would like to put it toward the most effective and creative way possible.”
Sell will represent Delaware in the National Teacher of the Year Program.