Behringer is Smithfield's Teacher of the Year

Behringer is Smithfield's Teacher of the Year

SMITHFIELD - Robin L. Behringer, who has spent her entire 15-year career at the Vincent J. Gallagher Middle School, has been named Smithfield's "Teacher of the Year."

Behringer was chosen from the 233-member faculty by Supt. Robert O'Brien and Asst. Supt. Bridget Morisseau from among six candidates, each representing one of the district's schools.

In making the announcement, O'Brien told the School Committee that Behringer, an 8th-grade English-language arts teacher, "has a passion for her discipline and strives to find creative strategies to help her students build knowledge and develop a deep understanding of literature."

Behringer, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in English at Rhode Island College in 1998, has been part of the Gallagher community since she first signed on as a long-term substitute in her first year.

In a nomination making Behringer eligible for state Teacher of Year, O'Brien and Morisseau cited her leadership qualities, ability to engage students, willingness to work with other teachers, and her attendance at extra-curricular events and activities.

On her resume, Behringer notes that she has a special interest in American history and that her students "write friendly letters from a pilgrim's point of view, analyze poetry from the transcendentalists and their beliefs as abolitionists, study Jackie Robinson's desegregation of Major League Baseball and its effects on the Civil Rights Movement, and write newspaper articles as if they were from the Civil War time period."

She said she also makes wide use of technology in her classes, where "it is a common occurrence to see the students with their headphones and Ipods searching their song titles for examples of alliteration, similes and metaphors..."

Another of her projects is taking photos and videos of milestone events during the school year, including dances, spirit days, team activities and field trips, and compiling them into a DVD movie with copies distributed to students.