TEACHER OF THE YEAR FINALIST PROFILE: Science Teacher’s Journey from the Philippines Leads Her to Inspiring Students at Eau Claire
Worlds away from her children and family in the Philippines, Dr. Daniela Jayme gives her all every day as a science teacher at Eau Claire High School. Her colleagues say the nearly 9,000 miles of separation from her loved ones during the pandemic never once caused her fervor for teaching to diminish.
Dr. Jayme is one of five school-level Teachers of the Year who are in the running for the district-level distinction. The teacher chosen as the 2022-2023 Richland One Teacher of the Year will qualify for consideration for the state title.
“Being here is not that easy, particularly as an international teacher like me, but thank God, I am able to make it,” said Dr. Jayme. “I would say all the sacrifices pay off.”
Curiosity about what it would be like to teach in a different country, with different students and a different educational system, led Dr. Jayme to Richland One.
Now in her third year of teaching at Eau Claire, Dr. Jayme has 16 years of experience in the profession. For most of her career, she was a high school teacher and assistant principal and a university instructor in the Philippines, even earning the Most Outstanding Teacher Award of Cebu City.
“She is one of the most diligent teachers I have ever had the opportunity to work with,” said Eau Claire Principal Neshunda Walters. “I have watched with admiration as she works with perseverance and commitment while continuing to grow and prosper as an instructional leader in the field of education.”
This school year, Dr. Jayme was named department leader for science teachers at Eau Claire. Eau Claire Assistant Principal Danielle Reilly said merely observing her classroom has been known to transform students and teachers alike into scientists. Reilly said Dr. Jayme’s distinctly positive disposition makes her most endearing.
“She is, without a doubt, one of the kindest, most compassionate and tremendously professional individuals I have ever worked with,” said Reilly. “The uniqueness of her personal life circumstances and her international teaching status, folded in with her commitment to our Shamrock students, makes her Richland One journey one of great significance.”
Shakari Jones, one of Dr. Jayme’s former students, was so impacted by her that she changed her career aspiration and now works in a nursery, hoping to mold the lives of youth as Dr. Jayme did for her.
“Before I met her, I cared more about money than anything. I was going to be an anesthesiologist or a gynecologist,” said Jones. “But, going to her class every day, seeing her passion for students and the sacrifices she has made for kids she doesn’t even know, woke up a part of me I didn’t even know I had.”
Eau Claire sophomore James Sumter said Dr. Jayme engages auditory, visual and tactile learning through her teaching methods.
“She makes sure everyone understands the concepts,” said Sumter. “It’s really inconceivable to fail her class. If a student fails, it’s all their doing.”
Ancuta Hozan, head of Eau Claire’s World Language Department, AVID instructor and Beta Club advisor, witnessed Dr. Jayme tutoring students after school and during the summer program, as well as in the classroom.
“She is a very organized, dynamic teacher who seeks to create and foster an environment that is student-centered and conducive to helping students to successfully navigate the opportunities and challenges of learning science,” said Hozan. “She uses a lot of interactive activities and collective work to help students achieve their potential and dreams.”
Dr. Jayme’s activities align with her educational philosophy of being a champion for students – someone who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and who insists that they become the best they can possibly be.
The new Richland One Teacher of the Year will be announced May 27 during the district’s Celebration 2022 employee recognition event.