At the end of the school day, Brigitte Tennis had her students finish the frog dissection lesson a little early. She asked them to collect their netbooks and led them to the school cafeteria. She had been informed that these student computers all needed an update to be prepared for state testing and that techs were waiting to do the work. Instead of computer techs, the surprise was on her. Mrs. Tennis learned that she has been selected for induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame (NTHF) as one of five members of the Class of 2015.
Mrs. Tennis has taught in Lake Washington School District since 1981, at Stella Schola since 2000. She is an enthusiastic and positive teacher. Principal Erin Bowser noted, ““Clearly, Mrs. Tennis is a busy person; yet she never is too busy to sit down one on one with a student before or after school to help. Time and time again, she sets everything aside to help her students. She has established a safe community where students feel welcome, whether they are in her class this year or fifteen years ago.”
Each of the five inductees were surprised at an assembly organized by their school district. Each district used a different strategy to pull off the surprise announcement. “Whatever it takes to keep the inductee in the dark until the announcement,” explains NTHF Executive Director, Carol Strickland. “It’s a very special honor to be inducted, but to share that announcement with your entire school, especially when you’re the center of attention, puts a new spotlight on what it means to be a teacher.”
This year’s class includes these five teachers with a combined total of 145 years of teaching experience:
Dr. Patricia Jordan, 29 years, Roslyn H.S., Roslyn, N.Y.
Richard T. Ognibene, 28 years Fairport High School, Fairport, N.Y.
Susan M. Rippe, 32 years Olathe NW HS, Olathe, Kansas
Ben Talley, 24 years, Van Pelt Elementary School, Bristol, Va.
Brigitte Tennis, 32 years, Stella Schola Middle School, Redmond, Wash.
The selected teachers will travel to Washington D.C. April 29- May 2 and to Emporia, Kansas, June 9-13 for a series of induction events. Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 115 educators from 37 states and the District of Columbia have been inducted. This year’s class of inductees represents the 24th anniversary of NTHF induction ceremonies.
National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in Emporia, Kansas, in 1989 to honor career teachers — and the teaching profession — through a recognition program and museum. Nominees must be certified public or non-public schoolteachers, active or retired, with at least 20 years of experience in teaching grades preK-12.