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Teacher Spotlight: Donna McDaniel

McDaniel tells us how she takes pride in helping children develop the strength to stand up for themselves and how she's learned more in the classroom than she ever could from a textbook

teacher Donna McDaniel was named Educator of the Month for April through the . Check out our Q&A with McDaniel below and feel free to offer some congrats for a job well done!

Name: Donna McDaniel
Hometown: Uniontown
Family: Husband Dave (retired, former educator); daughter Kara, lives in Toledo; son Rob, daughter-in-law Judith and granddaughter Claire, live in Kansas City, MI — way too far away!
Education: B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University, and M. Ed. from the College of Mount St. Joseph

North Canton Patch: How did you get into teaching?

Donna McDaniel: I wanted to be a teacher from the age of 4 on. I tried other things in college but always came back to the teaching field and have never regretted the decision. I have been able to do exactly what I always wanted to do for my entire career — not many people can say that!

North Canton Patch: Who do you find inspiration in?

McDaniel: I think my parents have been my biggest inspiration. Although my mother is no longer with us, she was a kind, caring and an extremely funny person. She made me appreciate the humor in things and how laughter solves many problems. My dad has always been and continues to be a wealth of knowledge. He taught me to be a lifelong learner just as he is. He models the values of kindness, firmness, fairness and patience, which I try to incorporate into my classroom on a daily basis. 

North Canton Patch: What do you love most about teaching?

McDaniel: I love the interaction with the children: their questions, concerns, "a ha" moments, just everything! I have learned more from the children about how to teach than I ever learned from a book or workshop.

North Canton Patch: What's the funniest, most interesting or embarrassing thing you've experienced in class?

McDaniel: My most memorable moments are too numerous to mention because they all involve children. They are based on when a child tries and tries and finally succeeds, or when I observe a child going out of their way to help another child, or when someone comes to me, not to tattle, but to inform me of what is going on and ends by saying, "And I don't like it." That means they are developing the strength to stand up for themselves and believe in themselves. Those are my memorable moments.

North Canton Patch: What qualities do you think make a good educator?

McDaniel: A good teacher is kind and caring, but firm and fair. High but reasonable expectations are in place for each individual child because one size does not fit all. Laughter and a sense of humor are prerequisites. Above all, a good teacher loves the children in their care even if no one else does. I learned a saying a long time ago: Each one, teach one. If a teacher reaches only one child, that matters.

About the award: 

The North Canton Area Chamber/Westfield Bank monthly “Educator of the Month” award honors a North Canton City Schools staff member who exemplifies excellence in education in their interaction with students, parents and other staff members.

During the course of the 2011-2012 award cycle one person from each of the district’s seven buildings will be honored. The Chamber has partnered with Westfield Bank and the  on the project. Each monthly winner will receive a plaque and a Starbucks gift basket, which includes a copy of CEO Howard Schultz’ "Onward" book. Schultz initiated Starbucks’ “Empowering Educators” program to highlight educators and school systems making a difference in the lives of their students and communities.

Jeanne Leed May 04, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Congratulations, Donna!
Pat McCullough Isue May 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Congratulations, Donna! You are so deserving of this honor!
beverly riske May 04, 2012 at 10:25 PM
That's my girl,Donna!!!! I am very proud of you!!! Love, Bev R.
Fred Benson May 05, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Well deserved!!!
Diane Terse May 07, 2012 at 12:03 PM
No one more deserving! Congratulations dear friend!

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