School:Lane Middle School
Grade/subject teaching: Sixth-grade science, reading and language arts
Education: Bachelor of science degree, elementary education; endorsement in middle school math
Years teaching: 13
City born and raised: Mishawaka
Current hometown: New Haven
Family: Married to Suzy for 23 years; two daughters, Miranda and Breanna; son, Korban
Last book read: The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus and The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
Favorite teacher: Mr. Russ Kintzle (fifth and sixth grade). He inspired me to become a teacher. His love for students and for his job was evident every day. He made learning fun, interesting, challenging and relevant. He was always honest and encouraging.
Favorite class in school: History and math
Favorite teaching memory: My most memorable teaching moment was actually born out of the most difficult event Ive ever faced as a teacher. This year, Lane lost a precious student: sixth-grader Connor Kitchen. I had Connor in my classes three times a day with a group of students who spent five periods a day together. When students asked if they could write letters to Connors family, I naturally consented. Their letters were absolutely beautiful – maybe the most heartfelt outpouring of love and concern that Ive ever experienced. It was education meeting life – a triumph of human spirit and compassion. We miss Connor every day, but each one of us learned and matured through the experience in a way we never could through a classroom lesson.
Whats the biggest challenge around ISTEP+ time? Keeping students focused, relaxed and poised to give their best effort is the biggest challenge for me. Finding the balance of conveying the importance of the test to students while at the same time not putting too much pressure on them is a delicate task.
Nominated by: Madelyn Springer
Reason for nomination: Mr. Vance is a great teacher who pushes you to do your best. He always comes up with new and creative projects that keep kids interested in the subject while they still learn. He is a great coach for many different sports and you can tell he loves being around kids.
– Devon Haynie