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This is the winner of Delaware's Teacher of the Year for 2021

Jeff Neiburg
Delaware News Journal

An 11th grade English teacher at McKean High School was named Delaware’s 2021 State Teacher of the Year Tuesday night.

Kimberly Stock said the award is an "incredible honor."

Stock beat out 19 other candidates. She becomes Delaware’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year. 

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting made the announcement by surprising Stock's family and colleagues gathered at McKean High to view the virtual celebration at a socially distanced watch party.

"I had no idea at all," Stock said of the surprise. "That was really shocking."

Kimberly Stock

Stock, who teaches Advanced Placement Literature and Composition and 11th grade English language arts, manages the language acquisition plans for more than 160 McKean students. She started a new program and curriculum that serves more students with rigorous grade-level material resulting in 100% of McKean’s English learners graduating in 2020, the Department of Education said in a press release.

Stock credited an English teacher in Nebraska for inspiring her to become a teacher. She credited her own background to helping shape her outlook on teaching and inspiring others.

Stock was born in South Korea and abandoned as a child. She came to the U.S. and went into foster care before being adopted by a family in Nebraska.

"Often times every single person in that room is an immigrant, including myself," Stock said of teaching English learning.

"My heart has been made soft and it’s been made to empathize with others. It’s something that all teachers try to do and certainly what I do is not unique, it’s representative of what teachers always do."

TAKE A LOOK: Watch the whole ceremony here.

Stock's career in education includes work at Claymont Community Center, where she secured partnerships with school districts, nonprofits and government agencies to create a new adult basic education and GED program. The adult English as a Second Language program more than doubled immigrant students served.

Stock earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska and her first Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she researched the recruitment and retention of teachers and administrators of color. Her second graduate degree, a Master of Arts in teaching English as a second language from the University of Delaware, resulted in a proposed curriculum for a Methods of Teaching English Learners course for all new Delaware teachers.

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She will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of her students, as well as two personal grants totaling an additional $5,000. The remaining 19 school district/charter candidates each will receive a personal grant of $2,000. All 20 teachers also received gifts from Advantech Incorporated and their district superintendents or charter principal.

The beginning of the 2020 school year has been unlike any other.

Stock said she was "really proud what teachers have been able to accomplish during this time.

"It has definitely been challenging," she said. "The reward has been that we have learned that we can still make a connection with students and delver effective lessons in a virtual or hybrid session."

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Contact Jeff Neiburg at jneiburg@delawareonline.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.