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Governor, Education Commissioner Announce 2018 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - At a surprise ceremony today, Governor Gina Raimondo and Commissioner of Education Ken Wagner announced the selection of Kristin Hayes-Leite as the 2018 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. Hayes-Leite has been a social studies teacher at Narragansett High School for the past 16 years, and currently serves as Social Studies Department Chair.

"Kristin embodies everything that we look for in great teachers. She is a leader, she is innovative, she is compassionate, and she is completely committed to her students," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Congratulations to Kristin and the entire Narragansett High School community for being an example of what can happen when we foster strong teaching and learning."

At Narragansett High School, Hayes-Leite has created and teaches new elective courses, including Contemporary Issues, and Law and Society. She is also a member of the Blended Learning Catalyst Team and was recently named to Narragansett High School's Fuse Architect pilot design team, which is charged with creating and piloting systems to increase personalization and student engagement in learning.

"This year's State of Education address was entitled, 'Creating Pathways to Opportunity,' and that is exactly what Kristin Hayes-Leite has done for her students. She creates student-centered pathways to relevant, engaging, and rigorous opportunities in and out of the classroom," said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner. "Kristin is an exceptional choice as Teacher of the Year, and I look forward to working with her in the year to come to learn from her success and share her experiences with all Rhode Island educators."

Hayes-Leite's selection comes as no surprise to her students. As one 12th grader writes, "One thing you should know is Mrs. Hayes works so hard for what she loves. She puts in so much time for all students, and presents each and every one with the same help and opportunity, and always treats us with respect."

A native Rhode Islander, Kristin Hayes-Leite is a graduate of Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire, and completed Master's degrees in both teaching and reading from Rhode Island College. She is a member of the National Council on the Social Studies, the Rhode Island Society of Technology Educators, and the International Reading Association. She was the 2016 Narragansett Employee of the Year, and was awarded the Horace Mann Abraham Lincoln Fellowship in 2010.

In her Teacher of the Year application, Hayes-Leite wrote, "In this field of public education, I am surrounded by heroes: students, teachers, families, and administrators, who individually persist in the epic struggle to obtain or deliver a quality education. It is time to stand up for one another and take pride in public education."

As Teacher of the Year, Kristin Hayes-Leite will work with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) throughout the 2017-2018 school year to develop thoughtful policy, lead professional development, and help support education statewide. She now becomes eligible to represent Rhode Island as the National Teacher of the Year.

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