Vergennes educator named 2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 9:38 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT

VERGENNES, Vt. (WCAX) - An educator in Vergennes was picked as the next Vermont Teacher of the Year. Robyn Newton has taught physical education at Vergennes Union Elementary School for 27 years.

“I value all of you who helped me be better and I hope I help you be better all at the same time. So, I think we are a great school community,” Newton said during Thursday’s presentation ceremony.

She says there are so many great teachers that deserve recognition, but she thinks she was picked because of the message she tries to teach her students. “Trying to incorporate more movement and exercise into our schools. Getting our kids more active and not sitting still. Getting them to love movement and make it so they can better their education.”

Since the ‘60s, the Vermont Agency of Education has made it a point to give recognition to outstanding teachers that go above and beyond for their students. That includes excelling in teaching, leadership, creativity, community engagement, and building excitement for learning. Vermont Education Secretary Dan French says Newton exceeds at all of these. “Not only is she a skilled instructor, but her contributions to the community are pretty phenomenal. Her message is exceedingly timely today as we are coming out of a pandemic. The message around the importance of activity, social and well-being, and physical health I think is exceedingly important for Vermont and the rest of the country,” he said.

Her students agree. “She also works really hard and does a lot to make the school better. She raises money for a pavilion, like doing the Fun Run. She isn’t just raising money when she does the Fun Run, she’s making it fun for the teachers and students, too,” said Emma Fuller, 5th grade.

“She is also positive. She makes things fair. She helps kids that need help. She enjoys having us for a class. She is prepared. She is kind to everybody, She includes all students,” said Hayden Fuller, 5th grade.

After 28 years of teaching, Newton says it’s important to her to teach kids about their own physical and mental health. “It’s about movement, it’s about understanding their bodies, it’s about making goals for themselves, It’s about getting along in team building and teamwork,” she said.