Connecticut Teacher of the Year 2017 - Lauren Danner
North Branford High School, North Branford, CT
Lauren Danner is a General Science/Biology teacher and Science Department Leader at North Branford High School. Lauren first became interested in a teaching career as she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences from the University of Connecticut, working as a laboratory teaching assistant for the program. Upon graduating, Lauren worked as a cytogenetic technologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital, followed by a cell culture technologist position at Neurogen Corporation, where she was employed for ten years. Fueled by a passion of science and learning, Lauren decided to return to school, receiving a Master of Science degree in Education from the University of New Haven. She began her teaching career as an intern at Beecher Road School, a PK-6 elementary school in Woodbridge. Lauren completed her student teaching in 8th grade Science at Bailey Middle School in West Haven and she is currently completing her 7th year of teaching in the North Branford School District at the high school.
Lauren is known for creating a positive classroom environment where students have the opportunity and ability to succeed as members of a scientific community. Her lessons involve activities and student discourse centered around real-world connections to scientific phenomena. Lauren also regularly incorporates technology in her classroom as a strategy to increase student engagement and collaboration, while providing opportunities to assess and monitor student growth.
Lauren has led Professional Development workshops and meetings on the use of formative assessment probes in a science classroom, science vocabulary strategies, the effective use of iPad technology in a classroom, effective questioning techniques, and classroom management strategies. She completed the TEAM program as a certified mentor for beginning teachers and also acts as an NGSS Online Module Facilitator, coordinating meetings and discussions pertaining to the Next Generation Science Standards Short Course. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Lauren has served as the 9-12 Science Department Leader since 2014. She is a member of the NBHS Data Team, Faculty Council, and NB District Technology Team. In 2012, Lauren was nominated by a student and won a nationwide contest entitled “Here Comes the Boom-Most Inspirational Teacher.” She was awarded $10,000, designated for NBHS extracurricular activities. Lauren was recently recognized as the 2017 North Branford District Teacher of the Year as well as the 2017 CT State Teacher of the Year.
Duties of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year
The Connecticut Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year finalists serve as teacher-ambassadors for public education. They are appointed to various education advisory committees and become consultants to the Commissioner of Education. They present workshops; speak at education conferences and meetings; address student, civic, college and university, and governmental groups; and operate special programs in accordance with their interests and expertise. The Connecticut Teacher of the Year also represents the state at the national level - participating in national educational forums, National State Teacher of the Year Program planning and networking sessions, and U.S. Department of Education meetings.