Stillwater News Press

February 14, 2013

Richmond Elementary teacher mixes tech with tradition

First in a three-part series

By Mark Rountree
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Richmond Elementary School fifth-grade social studies and science teacher Jamie Bellah is in favor of technology — and uses it often in her classroom.

But the 17-year veteran educator said Smartboards and digital responders are not the only way to instruct.

“Kids today are so immersed in technology,” said Bellah. “But when they can hold something in their hands, it’s more meaningful to them, more concrete.”

Bellah, who is in her ninth year in the Stillwater school district, is one of three finalists for Stillwater Public Schools’ teacher of the year.

Bellah’s students will get a lesson in hands-on instruction Friday during Colonial Day at the northside elementary school.

The fifth-grade students will dress in costumes from the Colonial Williamsburg era. They also will play games, make crafts and eat food from the era.

Last summer, Bellah sought and received a grant through the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher’s Institute in Virginia.

Bellah picked up resource material and instructional tools that she is using in her classroom.

Bellah said she is honored to be among the candidates for teacher of the year.

“This is a real honor,” Bellah said. “We have a list of amazing teachers at Richmond. I am surrounded by greatness. And then to be nominated as one of the top three teachers in the district, I am shocked and surprised.”

“Jamie Bellah is an exceptional teacher,” said Richmond Elementary School Principal Darren Nelson. “She builds relationships with her students, and she fosters a climate of mutual respect within her classroom. She also challenges her students academically, providing enriched learning opportunities for them that go beyond the curriculum. Jamie is a quiet leader in our school who lets her actions speak for her. Everyone who knows Jamie has the utmost respect for her. It is a pleasure to know and work with her.”

Stillwater Public School Teacher of the Year finalists

Stillwater Public Schools has named the finalists for teacher of the year. The winner will be announced at a banquet May 6.

• Thursday: Jamie Bellah, Richmond Elementary School

• Friday: Beth Helms, Stillwater Junior High School

• Saturday: Crista McCann, Stillwater Middle School