University Partner Named Outstanding Arkansas Mentor
Sherri Yates, first-grade teacher at Old Wire Elementary School in Rogers and mentor in the University of Arkansas Master of Arts in Teaching program, has been selected for this year’s Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award by the Arkansas Association of Teacher Educators.
The award was announced at the annual association’s conference in Searcy on Sept. 14.
Yates was nominated for the award by Vicki Collet, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, who serves as university liaison to Old Wire Elementary School.
“Mrs. Yates demonstrates consistent commitment to student-teaching internship, and her interns show strong growth in their teaching abilities,” Collet said, adding, “She has also been an advocate for the mentoring program at her school, encouraging colleagues to participate and openly celebrating the positive difference that interns have made in her class.”
Mentoring is a critical part of teacher preparation, according to Jennifer Beasley, director of teacher education at the University of Arkansas.
“We could not prepare educators without the collaboration with our partner schools,” Beasley said. “Mrs. Yates provides a positive and enduring impact on our interns, both personally and professionally.”
Criteria for the Outstanding Mentor Award include dedication to the teaching profession, commitment to internship, demonstration of exemplary mentoring, and modeling of exemplary teaching. Yates is involved in professional organizations and is a member of the Rogers Public Educational Foundation, where she has served on the scholarship committee. She has presented at the University Partnership Meeting.
Since Old Wire Elementary became a university partnership school in 2012, Yates has mentored 15 student teachers, who have shared her classroom for from nine to 18 weeks, depending on the placement. Letters from interns she mentored last year (all MAT 2018 graduates), which were included in the nomination, described Yates’ effective mentoring.
For example, Ali Johnson said, “Mrs. Yates taught me how important it is to create a classroom of respect and rapport.”
Sarah Russ said, “I have learned so much just from observing her. … She is constantly looking for resources and strategies to support her students. She shared these resources and strategies with me.”
Madison Shapleigh reflected, “Mrs. Yates has had a huge impact on my development as a teacher candidate. She made me feel like she cared about me as a person and wanted to help me become a better teacher. I learned so much by watching her and observing how she teaches and manages a classroom.”
Yates will be recognized locally for her award at the UA Partnership meeting on Oct. 4. Additionally, Yates will be recognized at a student assembly at Old Wire Elementary School in Rogers.