Demetra Caldwell '97 has been awarded the Al Davis Teaching Award for the 2015-2016 school year.
Caldwell, a third grade teacher, joined the Riverdale Lower School faculty in 2004.
Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph made the announcement at the closing faculty meeting today. He said:
“In 1997 the Class of 1964 established an endowment to fund a faculty award in honor of Mr. Al Davis, a much respected teacher and administrator who taught at Riverdale from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. The recipient of the award receives an honorarium and has his/her name inscribed on a large plaque.
“In selecting an honoree, emphasis is placed on a faculty member whose teaching is ‘an act of mutual respect, commitment, and love’ and who encourages team spirit, persistence, and a sense of community.
“The recipient may use the honorarium/stipend for academic classes, personal travel, concerts, lectures, resource materials, or other suitable activity.
“The recipient is chosen by the division head in consultation with a representative of the Class of 1964. As a general practice, the selection alternates yearly among the three divisions.
“This year’s recipient has a unique bond with Riverdale as an alum as well as a faculty member. This teacher embodies the ideals of the Al Davis Award, bringing enthusiasm, experience, commitment, and love for children and education to school every day. This teacher ably models character strengths such as grit, perseverance, and gratitude in everyday life as an educator.
“A lifelong learner with an extraordinary passion for teaching, learning, and leading when working with students, teachers, parents, administrators, and stakeholders throughout the community, this person consistently remains intellectually alive and open to change grounded in theory, research, and practice. Known for an active engagement with students, this educator ignites students' interest by creating learning opportunities that are challenging, meaningful, and relevant. This teacher believes that teachers must embrace change, encourage innovation, and foster creativity; not just in their students, but in themselves. This teacher sets high standards, continuously rises to difficult challenges, and leads and inspires the way for others.
“Consistently professional and reflective, this teacher also fosters a sense of community in the classroom, throughout the school as a whole, and among alumni. Over a 12-year career at Riverdale, this teacher has engaged students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni in important diversity work, serving as a Lower School diversity coordinator for several years and a founder of the very successful Lower School SOCS program.
“It is with great pleasure that I present Demetra Caldwell ’97 with this year’s Al Davis Award.”