Originally Published: May 5, 2011 10:02 p.m.
"Fun, but sometimes he can be strict."
That's how third-grader Jake Butcher describes Abia Judd Elementary music teacher Caleb Doyel.
Doyel is the Yavapai County Education Foundation 2011 Outstanding First-Year Teacher. He was one of 10 \ first-year teachers nominated. The outstanding first-year teacher finalists included T. Andrew Nardo, a fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Traditional School, Humboldt Unified School District; and Stephanie Keller, a fourth-grade teacher at Lake Valley Elementary School, HUSD.
Doyel was surprised when YCEF Teacher of the Year Committee Chair Maggie Cox called his name at the Teacher of the Year Banquet on Friday, April 29.
"I find it interesting that a
'specials' teacher could win. For some people, specials are not a class. They are a place kids come to have fun," Doyel said. "This is what I studied in college. I am glad, not just for me, but also to have my field recognized."
While describing Doyel and his work in the classroom, Cox read the following statement from Larry Peterson, principal at Abia Judd. "He is innovative in his use of piano, guitar, percussion, movement, dance and singing to keep the students engaged."
Teaching at Abia Judd is a return to his roots for Doyel. He was born in Cottonwood and lived in Prescott for 10 years. His father was the pastor at the First Baptist Church.
The family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when Doyel's father transferred to another church. While in Columbus, he said his friends tired of hearing how wonderful Prescott is. "When I was growing up here, it was a magical place. You could do anything outside," he said.
After graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University, Doyel completed eight weeks of student teaching at a high school in Kokomo, Ind., and another eight weeks of student teaching at an elementary school in Qingdao, China.
Doyel learned about the opening for a music teacher at Abia Judd from friends of the family living in Prescott.
According to Doyel, his first year of teaching "has been great. You rarely hear people say their first year is great, but mine has been. I have learned a lot. I love the kids, and I love teaching music."
Doyel said that when he was in college he thought he might try to make a living playing the trombone. "But, after my first day in class, I thought, this is it," he noted.
His students and fellow teachers seem to agree.
While Doyel can put students into "the Arctic Circle" for misbehaving, Jake still thinks Doyel is an awesome teacher "and it's only his first year here."
Second-grade teacher Carol Yetman said her students "can't wait to go to music class. Mr. Doyel has brought new dimensions to the music program. The students are learning rhythms and notes, and he does it all through games."
She added that her students come out of music singing.
Doyel, Yetman added, is a joy to work with.
Doyel uses movement and new songs to teach music to his students.
"I use the Kodaly Method, which includes a lot of folk music. The kids dance and are learning while they are having fun," he said. "I teach them a song, and once they know it, I teach them how to break it down and teach them what they are doing. Through the entire process, they are having fun."
The Education Foundation recognized 70 teachers during its 16th annual banquet last week.
The top award, Yavapai County Teacher of Year, went to Scott Fray, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher from West Sedona School in the Sedona/Oak Creek School District.
Fray said, "My goal is to encourage students to learn the subject matter while simultaneously developing higher level thinking skills, a sense of responsibility for one's own actions, the ability to learn and process new information and a desire to strive for self-actualization. Motivating and inspiring students to do their best and strive for their own potential has become a fundamental aspect of my teaching style."
Other category winners and finalists include:
Winner Traci Neyland, kindergarten teacher at Granville Elementary School, HUSD; finalist Mary Jane Bais, second-grade teacher at Del Rio Elementary School, Chino Valley Unified School District; and finalist Kathleen Gable, third-grade teacher at Abia Judd Elementary School, PUSD.
YCEF Vice President Mariela Bean said Neyland instituted the "Boo-Hoo Breakfast" for kindergarten parents on the first day of school. After breakfast, school officials take the parents on a tour of the school.
Winner J. Scott Fray, seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at West Sedona Elementary School, Sedona Oak Creek School District; finalist Hollis Enserro, seventh-grade U.S. history teacher at Liberty Traditional, HUSD; and finalist Laura Chavez, fifth-grade teacher at Del Rio Elementary School, HUSD.
Cox stated that Frey consistently asks his students for their assessment of his teaching and advice for improvement.
Winner Danny Watkins, sixth- through eighth-grade special education teacher at Cottonwood Middle School, Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District; finalist Joshua Easter, sixth- through eighth-grade special education teacher at Prescott Mile High Middle School, PUSD; and finalist Jennifer Athelli, K-5 reading specialist at Del Rio Elementary School, CVUSD.
Watkins teaches an alternative classroom for at-risk students because he believes that he can help these behaviorally and academically challenged students self-monitor their behavior and learning.
Winner Kelli Bradstreet, 10th-grade English teacher at Prescott High School, PUSD; finalist R. Clark Tenney, Japanese/U.S. and Arizona history teacher at Prescott High School, PUSD; and finalist Tyler Novak, visual arts at Mingus Union High School, Mingus Union High School District.
Cox explained that Bradstreet creates a dynamic learning environment by involving students in a variety of active learning stratagems.
(600 students or less)
Winner Andrea Clark, second-grade teacher at Clarkdale-Jerome Elementary School, Clarkdale-Jerome District; finalist Deborah Williams, third-grade teacher at Desert Star Community School, charter; and finalist Sarah Webb, eighth- through 12th-grade business and dance at Bagdad High School, Bagdad School District.
Bean noted that Clark's second-grade curriculum focuses on six thematic integrated units: amazing animals, talent show, nature walk, silly stories, family time and around the town - neighborhood and community.