Delano ‘Teacher of Year’ focuses on 21st Century skills for success

A Twenty First Century advocate for students, Gwen Egly receives high marks from her peers who named her “Teacher of the Year” at Delano Schools.
A Twenty First Century advocate for students, Gwen Egly receives high marks from her peers who named her “Teacher of the Year” at Delano Schools.

Gwen Egly, Media Center Specialist at Delano Middle School, was recently chosen as Delano Public Schools “Teacher of the Year” by her colleagues.

Egly manages the media center in the middle school, teaches Research and Technology Skills to students in grades five and six, Web 2.0 tools to seventh grade students, and helps eight graders investigate the world of Google Applications. These classes explore many 21st century skills that embrace creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

Egly’s teaching philosophy is encapsulated in the following quote by Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”

The environment that Egly tries to create for the middle school media center is one where students are directly and actively involved in their education. She has fostered an environment where students feel safe to take risks therefore encouraging intellectual curiosity. At the foundation of this environment is the need for students to accept differing opinions and approaches to problem solving. She encourages her students to think outside the box as they participate in project-based media courses. She wants them to know that they are not alone during their educational journey, working as an individual and in collaboration with a group, will help them learn to be a productive member of a team and an asset to society.

Egly had the opportunity to visit Apple headquarters in California a few years ago. That experience helped her realize that teachers should no longer be viewed as “Fountains of Knowledge”rather they should be referred to as “Educational Facilitators.”

Egly expressed, “Educators need to serve as guides encouraging their students to develop the gifts and talents they each possess.”

She believes that the best approach for preparing students to take advantage of future opportunities requires putting 21st century skills into practice. In essence, creating an environment where learners are actively involved in their education, in turn preparing students for opportunities in the future.

Delano’s Teacher of the Year believes that the world of education is a very complex and dynamic part of our democratic society.

“Educators are given the charge to take our nation’s most valuable resource, children, and transform them into a treasured product,” she said. “In addition, the product that educators produce must be prepared for the opportunities that exist in a world beyond imagination. We must start with what our students know, add 21st century skills, learn from the past, then build forward focusing on the future. The American people have huge expectations for educators across the nation, and we will find a way to respond based on our critical thinking skills, creativity, collaboration efforts, and communication.”

Egly received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with licenses in coaching and library science from St. Cloud State University. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. In addition, she concluded her higher education with a technology endorsement from Hamline University.

She came to Delano in 1997 and has taught in both the elementary and middle school media centers. She also has served on many district committees including Site Base, Staff Development, QComp, Delano Teachers Association, and District and Building Technology Committees. Egly is passionate about serving on committees to collaborate with her colleagues and share knowledge. As she interacts with her students and shares the resources available to them, she learns as she teaches, right alongside her students while staying current with the ever-changing world of technology.

This exceptional educator lives in Delano with her husband, Darrell, and their two children, Julia and Nicholas.

Her hobbies include reading, gardening, playing golf and enjoying their cabin with friends and family.