“A student with a dream is a student who wants to learn.” This is the message Suwannee County 2007 District Teacher of the Year James Wilson said he would communicate to his peers and the community if chosen for the position.

He also believes teachers should create an environment that rewards creativity, exploration, discovery and responsibility in order for students to move from education to the execution of their dreams.

Wilson is a math teacher at Branford High School where he teaches various levels of algebra and calculus.

School and district administration paid Wilson a surprise visit Jan. 26 with the news. After he was congratulated and given a gift basket, the announcement came across the intercom. Everyone was delighted.

While shaking hands with Wilson, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services

Mel McMullen noted that Wilson was the District Teacher of the Year for Columbia County just two years ago. Elementary Education Director Nancy Roberts mentioned that Wilson is teaching the first calculus class ever at BHS.

Besides being District Teacher of the Year twice, Wilson was the Teacher of the Year for Fort White High School in 2002 and 2004.

Wilson earned bachelor’s degrees in math and sociology from Central Michigan University in 1986. He began his teaching career in 1987 at Columbia High School.

Though Wilson has taught numerous math classes, his contribution to education spans well beyond mathematics. He has taught drama, acting, musical theatre, computer programming and critical thinking.

During the interview process with school officials, Wilson said his greatest contribution to education was his “conscious effort to improve the delivery of instruction daily ....”

“I not only want mathematics to ‘stick’ with them (students) for a lifetime but to be a compatible symbolic connection to their own lives,” he added.

Wilson holds Florida Department of Education certification in mathematics for grades six-12.

His most recent community involvement includes volunteering as an acting coach and artistic director and tutor and coordinating an annual student recognition event for student scholars and the community.

2007 Suwannee County Teachers of the Year are as follows: Suwannee Primary School, Sharon Chamberlain; Suwannee Elementary School, Melissa McKire; Suwannee Intermediate School, Susan Roush; Suwannee Middle School, Linda French; Suwannee High School, Doug Aukerman; Suwannee-Hamilton Technical Center, Joe Ragan; and Branford Elementary School, Juettie Kelley.

Vanessa Fultz can be reached by calling 386-362-1734 ext. 130 or by e-mail at vanessa.fultz@gaflnews.com.

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