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    Teacher of the Year

    Congratulations to Haley Todd, graduate of the University of Dayton’s Urban Teacher Academy (UTA) who has been named Teacher of the Year in a contest sponsored by Denver’s KBCO radio station. Haley was nominated by a co-worker and recognized for her outstanding work as a GED Specialist with Urban Peak, an organization that works with homeless at-risk youth in the Denver area.

    While a student at UD, Haley was a lead peer advisor to fellow teacher education students as well as an intern with the Center for Catholic Education. After earning her teaching degree, Haley’s career path led her to Colorado where she completed a year of service at a shelter. It was during that assignment when she learned of the available GED Specialist position at Urban Peak, a position that would allow her to help homeless youth earn the equivalent of a high school diploma. With Haley’s passion for education and desire to work with urban youth, it was a perfect blend for a career that would be satisfying and rewarding. Referring to herself as a “pusher,” Haley’s focus is to keep this population off the streets and push them toward an education necessary to be productive and successful members of society. She takes great pride in her work as her educational skills come into play while building relationships with at-risk youth. She is humbled to see their progress, to know that they are able to pass the tests, and to watch them graduate with a GED, which on average consists of about 80 youth each year. Many who complete the program continue their education at a postsecondary level.

    Being awarded Teacher of the Year is a tremendous testament to the work of Urban Peak and the power of our mission. Each staff member is a teacher in his/her own way in non-traditional settings, and I am honored to serve alongside such a fabulous group of individuals who have all taught me how to best do the work we do daily.” When asked to describe how it feels to be recognized for the work she is committed to, Haley invented the word “heartwhelming”, a term that best describes her feelings of this heartwarming and overwhelming honor.

    Haley was awarded an iPad for being a finalist in the contest, and for winning the prestigious title she receives the CSU Global Scholarship in order to pursue a Master’s degree in teaching from Colorado State University.

    Our most sincere congratulations and well wishes to Haley as she continues to have a positive impact on young lives.