CONCORD — On Wednesday, Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut announced that Kimberly Piper-Stoddard, an English Teacher at Granite State High School in the Corrections Special School District, is New Hampshire’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. Ms. Piper Stoddard was surprised by the announcement during a ceremony held at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men (NHSP-M).
“There are many paths to bright futures. Ms. Piper-Stoddard teaches students who have gone down the wrong path, but are working to turn their lives around,” said Edelblut. “I congratulate her, and hope this well-earned award will draw attention to the great work being done at Granite State High School.”
In the words of one of her students, “Ms. Piper is excited and enthusiastic about what she teaches and it has created an overwhelming positive change in me.”
Ms. Piper-Stoddard is devoted to helping students see the connections between themselves and others through literature and finding their voice through writing. In her application for Teacher of the Year, she wrote:
“Throughout my career, I have resolved to be an example to those in my care. On my best days I model for them curiosity, active listening, problem solving, empathy, and enthusiasm for learning; Even on the not-so-good days, I can still model admitting, apologizing for and fixing my mistakes. These are skills that will transcend the classroom, and hopefully propel my students into a new and better life when they are released from custody.”
Ms. Piper-Stoddard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Teaching with a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education, both from the University of New Hampshire. She has been in the education field for 25 years as a pre-school teacher, elementary school teacher, middle school teacher and her current position as a high school English teacher at Granite State High School. Granite State High School is located within the walls of the NHSP-M, the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women in Concord (NHCFW), as well as the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility (NNHCF) in Berlin. Granite State High School provides a second chance for those in need of formal education and can be a critical component of self-reflection and rehabilitation. Education through Granite State High School helps residents gain access to employment that might not have otherwise been available and can provide a foundational launching pad for further advanced education.
This high school was established in law in 1998. Through an interagency agreement between the NH Department of Corrections and the New Hampshire Department of Education, they outline educational services within the context of an adult correctional facility. The Corrections Special School District consists of Granite State High School and the Career and Technical Education Center. Students have the ability to earn their high school diploma and/or obtain licenses and accreditations while incarcerated. Granite State High School is a critical resource as evidenced by recommendations from a RAND Corporation Study from 2014 citing that education and vocational programs improve reentry outcomes of incarcerated adults.
In receiving this award, Ms. Piper-Stoddard becomes New Hampshire’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year and will be representing New Hampshire at several National Teacher of the Year events throughout the year.
Each year, New Hampshire schools take part in the State and National Teacher of the Year Program. The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and presented by Voya Financial, identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels. In New Hampshire, Geskus Studios and Yearbook Publishing is proud to partner with the NH DOE to help sponsor the New Hampshire Teacher of the Year program.
New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Finalists are: Jeremy Brown, Littleton High School; Sarah Grossi, Con-Val Regional High School; John “Drew” Groves, Bow High School; Barbara Milliken, Oyster River High School; and Christine Stilwell, Robert J. Lister Academy.
In early December, these semi-finalists, finalists, and the 2020 NH Teacher of the Year will be invited to a “Leadership in Education Banquet” to celebrate their accomplishments along with other distinguished educators in the State.