Shields Elementary teacher Brennan Clarke was named the Cape Region’s 2020 District Teacher of the Year. Clarke will compete for state honors in October. Shields Elementary is located in Lewes, Delaware.
As an English as a Second Language teacher, Clarke works closely with the school’s English learners, who are predominantly Hispanic. Having taught English in four other countries, Clarke’s global perspective allows him to build respectful and positive relationships with his students and their families.
“Part of what earned me the recognition as the District Teacher of the Year was my understanding of inequity and the efforts I've taken over the past four years to fight for more equitable outcomes for my ESL students and to advocate for their rights,” said Clarke. “Over the past few years, I've joined several local organizations whose goal is to improve the outcomes and lives of Latino youth and their families in Sussex County and throughout Delaware as a whole.”
Clarke also started a school-based organization called Unidad en la Comunidad that helps to create puertas abiertas (open doors) with Hispanic families so that they feel welcome and safe in the school. He also initiated the program Let Me Run that helps boys develop leadership skills while learning about healthy ways to process negative emotions, low self-esteem, and bullying.
“So much of what I've been recognized for was first inspired in me by the work of the faulty of the Educational Studies Department at St. Mary's College. And, not only have you touched my life and influenced my career in incredibly meaningful ways, but like the ripples of a stone in water, your influence on me has helped to trickle outward and impact the lives of so many others,” Clarke wrote to the Educational Studies Department.
Pictured with (l-r) Cape school board President Alison Myers, Assistant Superintendent Jenny Nauman, Clarke and Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton, from Cape Gazette Newspaper.