Bacon Academy teacher chosen 'Teacher of the Year'

By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Tue., Jan. 8, 2013
Colchester Teacher of the Year Julie Jones. Photo by Jason Harris.
Colchester Teacher of the Year Julie Jones. Photo by Jason Harris.

Colchester teacher Julie Jones was honored recently at the 2013 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony at the Bushnell in Hartford.

Jones, a speech language pathologist at Bacon Academy, was surprised when she found out she had been named Teacher of the Year.

“I’m just very honored,” Jones said.

The Teacher of the Year program, established in 1952, celebrates teaching excellence by recognizing teachers who have inspired a love for learning in their students and who have distinguished themselves in the profession. Jones, who has been teaching at Bacon since February of 1999, became a teacher because she wanted to work with kids to help them navigate through life. She said she thinks it’s important to make a difference in their world. “I enjoy working with adolescents,” Jones said. “It’s like their last stop before going out into the real world.”

Mark Ambruso, the principal of Bacon Academy, said Jones does more than what’s involved within her title. She brings life to reading, literacy and speech. “She builds bridges,” Ambruso said. “She’s one of those people who is able to bring the best out of students.”

Ambruso recounted a story in which one of Jones’ former students introduced her on the first day of classes.

"We had a former student of hers introduce her on opening day and it was absolutely amazing," Ambruso said. "This student was two years out of high school and you could tell that the relationship she had with Miss Jones made a huge impact in her life."

Jones is a co-teacher in four different English classes with regular education teachers, Ambruso said. Co-teaching is when classes contain students of all abilities and they’re able to successfully coexist and co-learn. Before co-teaching started at Bacon eight years ago, special education students were isolated and not in the regular classrooms with their peers.

Along with co-teaching and running small language groups, Jones handles a social thinking group with the school’s social worker for children diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She helps these children navigate through the social world by teaching them about body language, what to do when they are upset, and how to diffuse themselves when they become angry.

Jones said that she works with some great teachers and that together they have formed a successful working relationship.

“She’s someone both teachers and students love to be around,” Ambruso said.

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