NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A biology teacher from North Branford High School got quite the honor today. Governor Dannel Malloy along with other state and local officials showed up at the school to deliver the good news to Lauren Danner and her students that she was being named Connecticut’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Danner is a general science and biology teacher and Science Department Leader. She has taught at North Branford High School for the past seven years. Danner’s lessons involve activities and student discourse centered around real-world connections to scientific phenomena. She also regularly incorporates technology in her classroom as a strategy to increase student engagement and collaboration, while providing opportunities to assess and monitor student growth.
“Teachers make a real difference in the lives of students they serve,” Governor Malloy said. “As a high school biology teacher, Mrs. Danner has the power to ignite a love of science that will carry her students far and hopefully inspire some of them to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Congratulations to Mrs. Danner on being named the 2017 Teacher of the Year and thank you to all of our teachers for the work that you do each day on behalf of Connecticut children.”
“Being named the 2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year is a tremendous honor and this recognition means so much to me and our entire school community,” Danner said. “The outpouring of support from students, families, faculty, and community members during the selection process has been overwhelming and the entire experience is something that I will always treasure. I am humbled and honored to be representing my phenomenal colleagues in North Branford as well as the hard-working and dedicated teachers across the state of Connecticut.”
“Lauren Danner is an outstanding teacher and an inspiration to all of us who seek to deliver on the promise of an excellent education for every student,” State Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell said. “Teachers play a critical role in preparing our students to take on big challenges and achieve success in school and beyond. Connecticut is fortunate to have a strong, dedicated teaching force committed to student success. Congratulations to Mrs. Danner on this incredible honor and thank you for inspiring our young people to be lifelong learners.”
Danner was chosen from among four finalists, 15 semifinalists, and over 100 district-level Teachers of the Year. A statewide council of former Teachers of the Year and representatives from educational organizations, businesses, and the community conducted the rigorous selection process, which includes on-site visits, candidate applications, interviews, and observations of teaching. She first became interested in a teaching career as she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences from the University of Connecticut, working as a laboratory teaching assistant for the program. Upon graduating, she worked as a cytogenetic technologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, followed by a cell culture technologist position at Neurogen Corporation, where she was employed for ten years. Fueled by a passion of science and learning, she decided to return to school, receiving a Master of Science in Education from the University of New Haven.
Danner began her teaching career as an intern at Beecher Road School, a PK-6 elementary school in Woodbridge. Mrs. Danner completed her student teaching in eighth grade science at Bailey Middle School in West Haven and she is currently completing her seventh year of teaching in the North Branford School District at the high school. Mrs. Danner is known for creating a positive classroom environment where students have the opportunity and ability to succeed as members of a scientific community.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Danner has served as the 9-12 Science Department Leader since 2014. She is a member of the North Branford High School Data Team, Faculty Council, and District Technology Team. In 2012, she was nominated by a student and won a nationwide contest entitled, “Here Comes the Boom-Most Inspirational Teacher.” She was awarded $10,000, designated for extracurricular activities at the high school.
“Lauren Danner is an inspiration to everyone involved in the educational process and beyond,” North Branford Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker said. “Her commitment and dedication to her students is unprecedented. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch her grow into the educator and person that she is.”
Danner will now become Connecticut’s representative for 2017 National Teacher of the Year. She succeeds 2016 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes, a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, who went on to become the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.