Steffani Parker received multiple nominations from students and colleagues. The following profile contains information from each of her nominations.
Ms. Parker (maiden name: Dyer) is a well known teacher at Northgate High School. When she’s not roaming the halls, the entire student body knows she’s absent. Give her an hour and a student will fall in love. She’s the teacher that everyone wants and it truly stinks that there’s only one of her. Anyone can speak for her when it comes to excellent performance. She’s one of the top teachers in the school and department, as far as student performance goes.
“When I started my senior year in the class of 2016, my older friends told me how Economics wasn’t a good class,” said Nick Moen, a former student. They told me, for lack of a better word, that it sucked and that it was pretty difficult. They told me if I got Ms. Parker, however, I’d be fine. I also heard people from past classes and my current class tell me how good of a teacher she is for AP Human Geography. Next, I’m thinking to myself ‘Hey, maybe I’ll actually like Economics.’”
“Fast forward to the end of the semester, and Ms. Parker made Economics a joy,” Moen continued. “She took a boring subject and made it interesting! She was so inspiring as a teacher and person, that I’m pretty sure just about everyone in the class passed the class and the big test at the end of the semester. Ms. Parker was beneficial to everyone who stepped foot in her class room because she provided the motivation to the ones that had given up.”
Every semester, Ms. Parker makes sure the Economics Standards are met by her teaching methods and ethical standards. She gives an assignment called a “Budget Project” where students pick a job and create a budget around that job for various items, events, etc. This particular project takes a long time, so she created high student morale by assigning the project earlier in the semester. Students were able to get a jump start on it and finish it on time, especially with their busy schedules. The morale boost gave them the confidence they needed to finish that project on time and pass her class with ease.
“My daughter would come home almost every day after school raving about Ms. Parker,” said Jeanette Dahlin. “She would come home excited to share some new information with us that she had learned in her class. As her parent, it made me feel happy that she had a teacher that connected with her in such a positive way and taught her so much.”
Teaching at Northgate is more than just a job or a paycheck for Ms. Parker; you can tell it’s her passion. She takes the time to make sure her students understand the material, even if it means her coming in hours before school started to go over the past lesson with students who needed extra time in comprehending it.
“I missed a few quizzes here and there, and I would ask her if I could come in the next morning to make those up,” said Moen. “She could have said ‘No. You had your chance to take it,’ but she didn’t say that. She gladly came in a little bit earlier the next morning just so she could help me out. Ms. Parker even dimmed the lights and turned on the lamps to make her teaching environment more nurturing, and she gave us interesting educational videos to watch too.”
Ms. Parker adds to her school’s atmosphere by showing her school spirit each and every day, and by telling her students they are one step closer to walking across that stage. She shows her leadership through different clubs/sports teams, serving as the boys’ lacrosse coach and Sophomore class sponsor.
She also demonstrates leadership within her school’s history department. During staff meetings, she is always the one to come up with positive solutions and ideas. She works well with other faculty members, and at times will intertwine her classes with what is going on in other teachers’ classrooms when the curriculum allows it.
Even beyond class time, Ms. Parker goes out of her way to mentor and guide students. She makes an outstanding effort to assist students in their academic and professional lives, and remains humble through her efforts. Below are a few personal stories.
“Some of my fondest high school memories were made right in her classroom,” said Sarah Dahlin, a student. “It was truly a pleasure to come to her class every day of school. Her classroom felt like a home. She cared about each and every one of her students, and she treated us like we were her own.”
“High school was four of the hardest years I’ve experienced in my (granted, still adolescent) life, my senior year especially. However, after school, Ms. Parker and I would sit in her classroom and discuss life events, current events, meaningless events, or simply sit and work on our own,” said Tegan Pedersen, a former student. “Having a trusted adult that was willing to take the time to mentor and guide me in that academic environment means more to me than I know how to express in words.”
“As a current Veterinary Student at The University of Georgia, I have been in the presence of many professors over the years, but none have impacted my life the way that Steffani Dyer has,” said Alexandra Giddens, a former student. ““She taught me that it's okay to stand out among the crowd. It's okay to be the ‘quirky’ one, because being unique sets you apart from the rest of our world. Through my undergraduate career, and into my journey of becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, this lesson has been one of the most important that I've ever learned. Learning to embrace your true colors can be a daunting task for a high schooler, but Dyer taught me how, and my life has been forever changed because of her.”
“During my junior and senior years of high school, I was struggling with deciding what direction I wanted to head with my life,” said Jaelin Rainey, a former student. “I wanted to be an Air Traffic Controller, but you have to be 21 to do so. She was the first person to come to my mind when I knew I needed some guidance (short of my mother, of course). She broke the school norm and said that she knew that the military would be a perfect fit for me. She told me to go for it. I did, and here I am living a life that I could only dream of. Who knows what I would have transpired if I had gone to college straight away. I’m taking courses right now and I’m almost done with my associates with only 14 months out of school. After this, she and I decided that a bachelors in Business Management in Spanish would be a good stepping stone and it’s something that I love.”
“When I began my freshman year at Northgate, I was very unsure about not only my self worth as a student, but also about what I wanted to do with my life,” said Madeline Gill, a former student. “I walked into Ms. Parker’s class and instantly felt at home and safe! I mean how many teachers do you know with blue streaks in their hair?”
On top of this, Ms. Parker is pursuing a doctorate and is still the top teacher at her school year after year. She always has a smile on her face, and people enjoy taking her class. That’s hard to find in an AP classroom.