Cumberland’s Yost named Teacher of the Year

Cumberland’s Yost named Teacher of the Year

Betsy Yost, above in center, a 5th-grade English language arts teacher at Community School, with Supt. Bob Mitchell, left, and School Committee Chairman Paul DiModica at last Thursday’s School Committee meeting where she was named Cumberland’s Teacher of the Year.

CUMBERLAND – For her dedication to her students and her leadership among teachers in the district, Betsy Yost was named this year’s Cumberland Teacher of the Year during a surprise ceremony last week. 

Yost, a 5th-grade English language arts teacher at Community School, told The Breeze, “I’m extremely honored. So many teachers work extremely hard.” 

She received the honor on May 6 at a school-wide event that she thought was a kickoff for teacher appreciation week. “I had no idea,” she said.

District leaders also recognized Yost during a presentation at last Thursday’s School Committee meeting. 

“I think Betsy is a wonderful example of the committed teachers that are at Community School and in Cumberland,” Cheryl Vaughn, principal of Community School, who nominated Yost, said. “Everyone feels very fortunate to work with her.” 

Each year principals across the district nominate one teacher for the award and the district leadership team meets to decide the winner. 

In addition to her role as a teacher, Yost also leads the Community School ELA school improvement team subcommittee where she advocates for high quality instruction using self-regulated strategy development and district curriculum, and is a leader on a district-wide 5th-grade curriculum mapping team, Vaughn said. 

Yost works to put the needs of the students first and “gladly supports others behind the scenes with no expectation of accolades,” she said. 

As a teacher-leader working with all 5th-grade teachers in the district, “she’s highly respected,” Supt. Bob Mitchell said.

“She’s a great person,” he said. “She’s clearly an exceptional teacher.” 

In her nomination letter, Vaughn called Yost “a true asset,” adding that she’s “always positive, high energy, and focused on bringing out the best in her students and colleagues.” 

Yost, who’s taught at Community for 18 years, said, “I’ve only ever been at Community School. This is my home.” 

She began as a 1st-grade teacher, then taught 3rd-grade for five years, and has been teaching 5th-grade ever since, she said. 

“My favorite part about the school is the teachers that I work with, and the students are the best thing ever,” she said. 

She gives a lot of credit to her co-teacher Dianne Boisvert, who teaches 5th-grade math and science. “She’s amazing,” she said. “Without her, I couldn’t be me.” 

Yost emphasized that teachers “try hard to set the bar high for the kids,” and said it’s rewarding when her students are engaged in learning and excited about getting their essays back because they want to see their hits and misses.  

“Her high expectations are reflected in her students’ quality work, focus, and exemplary test scores,” Vaughn wrote of Yost in her nomination. 

Yost said at Community and she imagines across the district, “there’s a great culture of teachers collaborating and sharing ideas.” 

“That’s what helps us become better and stronger at leading kids to success,” she said.

While “there are a lot of outstanding teachers,” Mitchell said, “Betsy was the unanimous choice this year.” 

As Vaughn considered who to nominate, she said she asked teachers for their input and a number of people named Yost.  

Yost, a Middletown native, lives in Cumberland with her husband Jeff and sons Ben, a 10th-grader at Cumberland High School, and Colin, a 7th-grader at North Cumberland Middle School, who both attended Community School. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in human studies and a master’s degree in education from the University of Rhode Island. 

Before starting her teaching career, she was a social worker for a couple of years. 

“I’ve always enjoyed working with children,” she said. 

On becoming a teacher, she said, “I don’t regret one second of it.”

At left, Betsy Yost and her students, from left, Cadence Hebert, Sahasra Yenumula, and Keira Fuller, at last Thursday’s School Committee meeting where Yost was named Cumberland’s Teacher of the Year. Yost is a 5th-grade English language arts teacher at Community School.