Devlin follows childhood dream, is selected as 'Teacher of the Year'

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Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis recently announced that Ryan Devlin, a 2007 Waynesburg University secondary English education alumnus, is one of the 12 finalists for Pennsylvania's 2013 “Teacher of the Year.”

“These finalists for Teacher of the Year, and many of the professionals in our schools, are dedicated to improving the learning environment for every student and inspiring students to reach for excellence,” Tomalis said. “Teachers play a crucial role in the lives of their students and, as such, they have the responsibility of preparing students for a successful future, both academically and personally.”

The finalists must also be prepared to effectively carry out the duties of the state's Teacher of the Year, which includes being the Pennsylvania's nominee for National Teacher of the Year.

“I truly believe that many of our nation's most passionate and innovative educators are working in Pennsylvania schools,” Tomalis said. “The teachers who have been chosen as finalists for Teacher of the Year are proof of that.”

Devlin is the youngest educator to have been nominated for this award, which comes as no surprise considering the fact that Devlin has known since the age of 8 what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

“I spent a lot of my childhood and adolescent years daydreaming about the type of teacher I wanted to become,” he said. “Teaching seemed like the perfect outlet for my creativity, and I wanted to do something that would enable me to make a difference in the world.”

After graduating from Waynesburg, Devlin was hired as an English teacher at Brockway Area High School in his hometown of Brockway, Pa. Devlin teaches British Literature, Creative Writing, Digital Media and Computer Science. He also serves as the advisor to the senior high gifted program.

In 2009, Devlin completed his master's degree in Education at California University of Pennsylvania. The following year he was hired as the chair of the English Department at Brockway Area School District. On top of teaching and coaching cross country (a program he created at Brockway in 2008), he now oversees the curriculum, plans professional development and analyzes student data for the English Department.

He also plays an active role in introducing new technology to both students and staff at Brockway. Devlin strives to develop 21st century learning skills through creating a classroom environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, communication, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving. As a result, Devlin received the 2009 and 2012 Pennsylvania State Education Association's Innovative Teaching Grant.

The 12 finalists for Pennsylvania's 2013 “Teacher of the Year” were nominated by students, parents, their colleagues and members of their community who wished to recognize their achievements in and outside the classroom. The winner will be announced in December.