BESPC’s Mercer garners state honor
Baldwin City has one of the best first-year teachers in the state and the proof in that is Adriane Mercer winning the Kansas Horizon Award for Exemplary First Year Teacher.
Mercer, who teaches second grade at Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center, was notified of the award at a special gathering held for her last week at BESPC. It caught her off guard.
"I was very surprised, very surprised," said Mercer. "I had to apply for it and write the essays, but everyone else knew about it before I did."
The Ottawa University graduate who did her student teaching last year in the Baldwin School District, not only was pleased by the award, but also feels there are other teachers in the district that deserve similar praise.
"It's very validating, that's for sure," Mercer said. "It makes you feel good about decisions you make to be a teacher. But, especially in this district, every first-year teacher deserves it. They have been a great group of mentors.
"Any one of them deserves the award," she said. "I just happened to be lucky enough to get this one."
BESPC principal Deb Ehling-Gwin was just as happy to see that Mercer won.
"The state of Kansas has been giving these for three years," said Ehling-Gwin. "The attempt to get four teachers from each congressional district, two elementary and two secondary.
"This is our first teacher to get the award," she said. "It's a real good thing for the primary center. We not only have a national board certified teacher in Amy Berg, we now have Adrian getting this."
There's no doubt that Mercer is deserving of the honor, Ehling-Gwin said.
"One of the striking things about Adrian in the classroom is her maturity. She makes very good decisions," she said. "She's very willing to ask the questions that can help her. She's strict, but compassionate and understanding. She's fun.
"She seems like one of those people that's a natural teacher," said Ehling-Gwin. "She probably didn't need to go to school to be a teacher. She's really the poster child for first-year teachers. She's great to have on staff. She did her student teaching at Baldwin Elementary fourth grade, so we've known her for awhile. We just hope she'll stay with us."
Mercer knows she's not a stranger to the district, despite technically being a first-year teacher, and she's here for a reason.
"That's it exactly," she said of her familiarity with the district. "I knew I wanted to teach in this district. I student-taught in fourth grade with Cathy Maxon. She's a great lady. I learned a lot from her."
That education doesn't stop, either. She's continually learning.
"Every day," said Mercer. "I love second grade. I loved fourth grade, too. I'm comfortable enough with the curriculum that I'm enjoying it.
"Second grade is so good teach," he said. "It's a great age. They are so eager to learn. They're little sponges."