Just as she pushes herself to face new challenges, Carly Daniel encourages Sadee Mosenteen — and all of her students — to push through difficult work. — The Holyoke Enterprise | Johnson Publications
Challenging self and others, Daniel leads by example
Practice may make perfect, but too much routine can lead to complacency. As a teacher at Holyoke Elementary School, Carly Daniel seems to be keenly aware of the risks of falling into a rut, and she’s made a habit of going out of her way to do better whenever she can.
That same mindset carries over into her teaching, where she inspires students and colleagues alike to push toward better things, too. Her example and commitment to seeking out challenges make her Holyoke School District’s Leader Among Us for the 2019 Emerald Awards.
Though she started at Holyoke as a first-grade teacher in 2012, she embraced the opportunity to move into an open third-grade position last year. After five years of doing the same thing, she knew it was time for a change, to try something new. The way she sees it, teaching a different grade level “keeps things fresh.” It’s forced her to be creative and stretch herself as a teacher.
Another change Daniel saw last school year was assuming the role of RTI director. In addition to teaching, she now leads the Response to Intervention. RTI existed before, but it lacked a consistent leader. Daniel saw the offer as an opportunity to help the program and gain valuable administrative experience herself. As it turns out, the change has ended up being mutually beneficial.
Holyoke Elementary reading specialist Lynn Schneider wrote in Daniel’s nomination letter, “Carly’s leadership has helped our elementary school finally build an RTI process that is functioning as it should and that is working to meet the needs of our students, their families and our staff. Without her strong leadership, this vital program would certainly not be as strong as it has become over the past year.”
RTI is the process used to address academic and behavioral concerns in students. At Holyoke Elementary, there are currently 38 students, along with families and teachers, who are benefiting from the program. In accepting the position, Daniel’s intention was to stay in that role for at least three to five years so a consistent system could be developed.
Since RTI is meant to help students who are struggling, Daniel necessarily finds herself interacting with students, parents and teachers when they’re not at their best. Her understanding in those tough situations is something that stands out to those around her.
Fellow third-grade teacher Tarah Priddy also nominated Daniel as Leader Among Us. As she put it, “Carly has a way with parents that leaves them assured that their child is important and that the school is doing all in its power to help others.”
Likewise, Schneider wrote, “It is not always easy for parents to hear that their child is struggling, but Carly constantly focuses on the positive and does an excellent job of communicating to parents how dedicated we are to doing all we can to build on their child’s strengths while providing the necessary support to help in the area(s) they are experiencing difficulties.”