Vincent named Teacher of the Year at John M. Clayton

Even after 21 years of teaching, Cindy Vincent looks forward to seeing what her students will bring to the table each day.

Coastal Point: Cindy Vincent, Teacher of the Year at John M. Clayton Elementary School, stands among a sea of weather-themed shoebox dioramas.Coastal Point
Cindy Vincent, Teacher of the Year at John M. Clayton Elementary School, stands among a sea of weather-themed shoebox dioramas.

“I’m always excited to come to work,” the first-grade teacher said.

Vincent was recently honored as John M. Clayton Elementary School’s 2011 Teacher of the Year.

Vincent has worked for Indian River School District for the last 13 years and has taught first grade for 12 years at Clayton (formerly Frankford Elementary School). Before that, she taught for eight years in Kent and New Castle counties.

Vincent took a hiatus after giving birth to twins, and the family moved to Sussex County, where her husband had a job teaching. For a while, the family also ran a bed-and-breakfast at the beach, and Vincent hosted a daycare for other teachers’ children before going to teach in the school district.

Teaching may not have run in her family while she was growing up, but it does now. Vincent teaches at Clayton, her husband in Cape Henlopen School District, and her daughter is in the process of obtaining her teaching certification.

Vincent earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Delaware State University.

“I think I just always wanted to be a teacher,” Vincent said. “I just can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Vincent now assists with Clayton’s Parent-Teacher Organization and is a member of the Family Literacy Committee, which hosts several Family Literacy Nights during the school year. The purpose of the events is to get parents involved in their children’s reading, through information sessions, speakers and local library involvement.

“We try to keep it fun… and the kids love it when their parents come.”

Vincent is also the first-grade representative for the school’s Liaison Committee.

“I love it here. I love this school,” Vincent said. “We have a really good and dedicated staff. I’ve worked in a lot of schools, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Vincent said it’s “humbling” to receive the Teacher of the Year award for John M. Clayton Elementary School because of the high caliber of teaching around her.

“It helps you reflect on how you’re doing” as a teacher, Vincent said. She sees the award as a challenge or motivator to do even greater things in the classroom.

When not at school, Vincent enjoys traveling, reading and being outside here on the shore.

Vincent explained that teaching young children is “challenging, but in the long run, it’s worth it. … When they come to the first grade, they’re still kindergarteners. They leave here being able to read fluently and write fluently. You see so much growth in the first grade.”