Mike Lingenfelter, sixth-grade math teacher at Selbyville Middle School, was recently named Teacher of the Year at SMS. In order to win, a teacher must be nominated by either students, parents or a fellow teacher. Through the nomination and observation, a committee picks the winner.
Lingenfelter has been a teacher at Selbyville since 1991, when they first started as a sixth-, seventh- and eight-grade middle school and started using the team concept that they use today. He is a member of the “Rads” team. The team concept allows not only the students but the teachers to have a base group of peers that they can work with. Lingenfelter said teachers meet every day to talk about what is going on with the students and their instruction.
“It’s good, because whatever is happening in my classroom is probably happening in theirs, too,” said Lingenfelter of his fellow teachers. “And it’s such a transitional time. The kids are not in elementary school anymore and not yet in high school, so it’s the first year they have lockers, and they change classes six times a day, so there’s a lot of movement. It’s their first taste of independence,” said Lingenfelter of the sixth-graders.
During college, Lingenfelter decided he wanted to be a teacher and coach, and he graduated with an elementary education degree. He has since gotten his master’s degree in instruction and is certified in middle-school mathematics. He coached wrestling for many years, but has stopped since starting a family.
Lingenfelter is married to Joelle Lingenfelter, the librarian at Selbyville Middle School and joked about the school being a “family affair.” They live in the area and have two children — Caroline, 9, and Zachary, 5 — who attend Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.
As for being named Teacher of the Year, it gave Lingenfelter the chance not only to compete for a distinguished title, but it allowed him to time for some personal reflection as well.
“Being Teacher of the Year, and the process that you go through in submitting your portfolio, it was a positive experience. The reflection that you get to go through and see some of your strengths and weaknesses, the professional end of it is really good,” he said.
“I’ve seen lots of transitions from being ‘under watch’ under No Child Left Behind to the ‘superior’ rating we have today. And all the hard work that we put forth, we feel good about our label now. To be part of that transition and to be recognized, it is pretty awesome,” said Lingenfelter.
Lingenfelter and his Teacher of the Year counterparts will go on to vie for the district Teacher of the Year title, which was to be announced Wednesday, April 16, after Coastal Point deadline. The winner of that honor is eligible for the state title and can go on to win national honors.