WITN's Teacher of the Week for December 13 is Covey Denton of Greenfield School in Wilson.
Denton is a fourth year teacher at Greenfield School in Wilson. She teaches preschool through the 6th grade. Ms. Denton also coaches Science Olympiad and Envirothon teams and is the Wilson Area Director for Science Olympiad. She recently became a National Geographic Certified educator and trainer for the program.
Outside of the classroom, she serves on the National Science Teacher's Association's Exploravision Committee and is a National Board Member for the Infiniscope Project.
Ms. Denton has a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from UNC Chapel Hill and is currently enrolled in the M.Ed. NASA STEM Endeavor program through Adams State University.
During her career, she has received numerous awards, including the 2016 NC Science Teacher's Association District III Excellence in teaching award and the Robert E Yager Award from the National Science Teachers Association in 2017.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Denton enjoys sharing her love of science through summer camps, volunteering with her three children at the Ronald McDonald house in Durham and hosting Mad Science days with the Eastern NC School for the Deaf. She is also a frequent visitor on the WITN morning show where she is able to share fun science experiences with viewers.
Ms. Denton is active in her home church in Wilson, NC, a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do and a single mom to three amazing kids, Elijah (11), Lydia (9) and Bethany (7). She is also "mom" to a slew of pets and animal ambassadors in her classroom including one dog, two cats, six chickens (at home) and a leopard gecko, bearded dragon, corn snake, aquatic frog and hermit crabs (at school).
Ms. Denton was nominated for Teacher of the Week by Beth Peters, Head of School at Greenfield School. She wrote the following: “I have known Ms. Denton for over three years since she began teaching at Greenfield School in August 2014. I can honestly say that she has taken our campus by storm and exposed more children to science in the most exciting way!
“For the past three years, Ms. Denton has brought so much energy and enthusiasm to her lower and middle school science classes. She has a terrific knowledge of the sciences taught in our school and continually works to make it interesting, fun, and educational. At the same time, she stresses lab safety, the importance of conducting a lab appropriately, and the correct documentation and reporting of labs. She also collaborates with other teachers to tie in mini science units with other subjects. Her students are encouraged to grow and develop their higher-level thinking and use interactive notebooks to gain and keep information.
“Two years ago, Ms. Denton and other science faculty decided to start a Science Olympiad team. The results were fantastic. Students from several grade levels stayed after school many times to prepare and to make sure that they represented Greenfield School and the team well. They used STEM concepts to design a spaghetti tower, paper airplanes, and k’nex towers. The result was that many students finished in the top three and the school team came in second in their first regional effort. Ms. Denton has continued to volunteer her time last year and this year coaching not only the Greenfield team but also a Homeschool team.
“In Ms. Denton’s classroom, students are not just learning science, they are DOING science. They are all over campus taking and testing soil samples, examining the water in our pond on campus while learning about water pollution and the effects of run off from our soccer field, or examining our small ecosystem along our nature trail. Inside the classroom, her students are caring for a gecko, a snake, and during the last weeks of school in May watched baby chickens hatch.
“Ms. Denton’s love for science extends beyond the classroom. She arranged for Dan the Animal Man to come on campus for a presentation of rescued animals for the entire student body. She also planned and implemented a school wide activity on making a pumpkin explode. Safety was stressed and she clearly explained how she was doing each step. One year she arranged for a walk-through planetarium to be set up in the gym for an entire morning. Several times she has hosted students from the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf to spend a morning on campus doing hands on experiments and watching fun demonstrations. She has also taken her students on field trips to The Museum of Science.
“Currently, Ms. Denton is our science department chair, is enrolled online in the NASA Endeavor M.Ed. Program through Adam’s State University, and was recently notified that she is a National Geographic Certified Educator. She presented at the NCSTA conference and was awarded the District 3 Middle/Elementary Distinguished Teaching Award while there. She was also presented with the Robert Yager Award for Excellence in Science Education. She continues to attend professional development opportunities to learn new ways to motivate and challenge her students.
“Ms. Covey Denton makes science come alive for all our students.”
Congratulations Ms. Denton!
Every week during the school year WITN will recognize a Teacher of the Week on WITN News at Sunrise. The winner receives a plaque and $100 Walmart gift card. To nominate your teacher, email TOTW@witn.com.