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Archive for Friday, February 26, 1999

LAWRENCE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR HONORED

February 26, 1999

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The Lawrence school district bestowed awards on an elementary teacher and a junior high school teacher on Thursday.

Jeff McAdoo, a physical education teacher at Quail Run School for nine years, doesn't mind when his students fail at tasks. In fact, he sometimes "overloads" his students to teach them a lesson about not giving up even when they are faced with a daunting assignment.

"You've got to be willing to fail," said McAdoo, whose innovative efforts at combining physical education and lessons helped him win the Lawrence school district's Elementary Teacher of the Year award.

McAdoo and Michel Loomis, the district's Secondary Teacher of the Year, found out about the awards Thursday morning at their schools. Loomis is a Central Junior High English and physical education teacher.

"The children aren't afraid to take risks," McAdoo said. "You need to think of school as a safe place to push it and take chances. It's a safe place to fail. But I tell my students that failing doesn't make you a failure, just as losing a game doesn't make you a loser."

Loomis has been at Central Junior High for 17 years, but said there are always new challenges -- and new joy when she connects with a student.

"It's worth it when kids meet me more than halfway, which many students at Central do," she said. "And there are the times I can help a student in need, by listening to them when they need an adult ear, by being able to give advice when asked, by keeping my temper with some of them long enough to reach them."

Loomis coaches track and opens and supervises the gym at the school each day. At lunch hour she jogs, and she helped bolster the Central Fun Run into an annual fund-raising event.

In a nomination letter, student Lia DeRoin wrote:

"When my older brother had Mrs. Loomis as a seventh-grade gym teacher, he came home and announced, `Mom, if you weren't my mother, I'd want Mrs. Loomis to be my mom' ... and I, too, think that if I did not have my mother, I would choose her."

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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