In a surprise ceremony that resembled more of a pep rally at Wednesday afternoon, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist named Julie Lima Boyle the 2012 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. As she was introduced, Boyle, clearly stunned by the announcement, was cheered on by students, faculty, local representatives and dignitaries and most importantly, her family.
"I knew that I was a finalist but I thought we were just celebrating our NECAP results today!" she said through happy tears.
An English teacher and the English language arts curriculum coordinator at Coventry High, Boyle has been teaching at the school for 13 years. This is her third Teacher of the Year recognition in only a few short months, having earned the honor for Coventry High School and the Town of Coventry earlier in the year. As the state Teacher of the Year, she will now be a candidate for National Teacher of the Year.
“Julie Lima Boyle is known and respected as a teacher who is always learning and always improving her craft,” said Governor Chafee. “Ms. Boyle is an innovator who incorporates technology into her classroom and into her assignments. As one of her colleagues put it, she was born to teach and born to lead. I congratulate her on this well-earned honor.”
“Ms. Boyle is known in Coventry as an advocate for students and as an expert on all aspects of English language arts, from grammar to literature to thoughtful, creative writing,” said George D. Caruolo, Chairman of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. “She led the way as her department revised the Coventry English curriculum, she has taught students at all levels of ability, and she has mentored many student teachers and new teachers. She will represent Rhode Island well as our 2012 Teacher of the Year.”
“As we work together to ensure that we have excellent teachers in every Rhode Island classroom, Julie Lima Boyle is a wonderful example of outstanding, dedicated teaching,” said Commissioner Gist. “She uses 21st-century technology to lead her students to express their thoughts and ideas in a variety of electronic media – as well as on paper! One of her former students called her ‘the most thoughtful, sincere teacher’ he had ever had. We are fortunate to have Ms. Boyle as our Teacher of the Year.”
One of her many admiring students, senior Tom Scappini spoke to the crowd of his favorite teacher.
"She is incredibly personal, yet manages to work with a class of 20 or more students at a time," said Scappini. "Her classroom is full of discussion, intellectual challenge and of course, fun and she promotes cooperation rather than competition."
Julie Lima Boyle, a Coventry High School graduate herself, holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Rhode Island College, and she did her preparation for teacher certification at Providence College.
As Teacher of the Year, Boyle was presented with a $10,000 scholarship opportunity from Johnson & Wales University and a Technology Classroom package from SMART Technologies.
"For an English teacher to be searching for words, that says a lot. I'm so honored and humbled by this. Thank you so much," said Boyle as she addressed the crowd. "I live what I teach and my philosophy is simple; love your kids, love your content and work really really hard."