HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Donna Franks, sixth-grade mathematics teacher at the William Davies Middle School, has been selected as Hamilton Township School District teacher of the year, according to Superintendent Michelle Cappelluti. The announcement was made at the Tuesday, Feb. 5 Board of Education meeting.
Cappelluti also named recipients from each school. They were Tara Sutton from the Shaner School and Traci Schubert from Hess Elementary School. Also named were paraprofessionals of the year Annmarie Barrett from Shaner School, Susan Wolfe from Hess Elementary and Lois Townsend of Davies Middle School.
Franks has been a teacher for 28 years, including 24 with township schools. She has been involved in the opening of two schools and the reopening of one.
She was hired to teach reading when the Davies School opened in 1988 and later taught computers and sixth-grade math. She was transferred to Hess when it opened in 1992 to teach language arts, mathematics and science. Finally, when the sixth grades were relocated back to Davies after a renovation and expansion in 2007, she returned there, and by coincidence was placed back in her original classroom.
Franks teaches all forms of math, but her favorite is geometry. She also enjoys “teaching outside the textbook.”
Her school webpage shows a mix of innovative learning opportunities.
One of her favorites is having students participate in the stock market.
“Each day I have students rushing to the computer to see how their stocks fared the previous day,” Franks said. “They also learn about commodities and the gold and silver markets. Through this, they learn percentages and finance in an interesting, hands-on way. In essence, they get to act like adults, living in the real world.”
Franks graduated summa cum laude from Glassboro State College with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education. She had previously received an associate’s degree from Atlantic Community College. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the New Jersey Education Association and the Hamilton Township Parent Teachers Association. She has received numerous awards and honors during her career, and has volunteered to serve on many committees and has been the advisor for a number of extracurricular clubs. She has mentored four teachers and guided two student teachers.
Franks lives in Hamilton Township with her husband, Craig. They have two sons, Marc, 28, and Matthew, 23. She will be recognized by the board in the spring and then invited to participate in the Atlantic County luncheon recognizing award recipients from each district.
Principal Stephen Santilli said he is pleased to have her on the faculty.
“Mrs. Franks certainly stands out as a leader, not only within the mathematics department, but within the Davies School,” he said. “She conducts herself as a true professional and has earned the respect of the community, staff and students of Hamilton Township.”
“Mrs. Franks’ passion for education can be seen both in and out of the classroom, as she advocates for all of her students and continues to mentor novice staff,” Santilli said. “She demonstrates what administration would refer to as ‘with-it-ness’ while in and out of the classroom, and because of that we are proud to have Mrs. Franks represent our school and district as she participates in the running for the Atlantic County teacher of the year recognition.”
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