Wellington named Teacher of the Year

Wellington named Teacher of the Year

Ponaganset Middle School teacher Heather Wellington was named the Foster-Glocester district 2019 Teacher of the Year last week. From left are Supt. Michael Barnes, Heather Wellington, and PMS Principal Joseph Porrazzo.

GLOCESTER – Ponaganset Middle School 7th-grade social studies teacher Heather Wellington was named the 2019 Foster-Glocester district Teacher of the Year last week after 16 years working in the district.

Wellington said she was quite surprised to hear she had earned the title of 2019 Teacher of the Year.

“It feels really good to be appreciated by your colleagues,” Wellington said.

She said students reached out to congratulate her on the distinction.

Wellington, a Providence resident, is in her fourth year teaching 7th-grade social studies at the middle school. She said she began her role at PMS by substitute teaching for a year, and eventually was offered a job.

She worked as a special education instructor for the district for 13 years before the switch.

“The rest is history,” Wellington said.

She said she really loves teaching students at the 7th-grade level, where students are at an impressionable age, between 12 and 13 years old.

“My favorite part of the job is getting students engaged and excited about learning,” Wellington said.

She said she likes to teach students to be themselves, and teaches the students that “we’re all unique and we’re all individuals,” Wellington said.

She said her favorite part of the job is getting students engaged in learning and hopes to bring social studies content up to modern times to become more relevant.

PMS Principal Joe Porrazzo said Wellington sets high standards for herself and her students and supports programs and procedures that hold students accountable for high quality work.

He said that he considers Wellington to be trustworthy, respectful, and authentic and serves as a model of integrity and reliability. He said she follows through in every instance, whether she is teaching, serving on committees, providing service to nonprofits, volunteering in the school, or running afterschool programs.

He said her priorities put the students’ well-being first.

“Her integrity is consistent; she continuously advocated for what is right for students, which often is in direct opposition of what is convenient,” Porrazzo said.

“Mrs. Wellington’s classroom is a vibrant, engaging place where students are involved in a multitude of various meaningful, connected and relevant learning opportunities,” he added.

Foster-Glocester Supt. Michael Barnes said Wellington’s commitment to supporting teachers and colleagues helps cultivate a collaborative, relevant and personalized learning community within the district.

“Mrs. Wellington is a true teacher leader who has contributed to learning and teaching in the classroom, school and district levels,” Barnes said.

Wellington said she would like to take on a team leader role if the School Committee approves.

Wellington’s community service includes organizing the school's "Green" team to donate more than 3,700 toiletries for the homeless and implementing the “Read with Malcolm” program, which encourages students to participate in a reading incentive program during homeroom.