Nominated by: Kathleen Cutler, Parent
Mrs. DeSoto goes above and beyond for her students. She makes every student feel like they can achieve their dreams. She is adept at figuring out which students are at risk and helping them understand that they have the power to change their stars. She is more than a teacher for so many. She is shelter in a storm, confidant, parole officer (her students lovingly refer to her as the Dragon Lady), nurse, coach....the list goes on. She finds the good and brings it out in every student and in turn makes them believe in themselves. She attends her students outside activities and supports their endeavors. She defends and advocates for every student and celebrates each milestone. She holds them accountable and teaches them responsibility. She has run the drama program at the middle school for years and is always inundated with students wanting to be involved. She is the Director of the Interact Program and was integral in getting it up and running. Interact is the high school affiliation of Rotary. Raye Anne is herself a Rotarian. She works with this group to teach them the value in giving back to the community, which is a cornerstone of Rotary. She and the Interact students successfully created the Tiger Food Pantry which is located inside her classroom. She set up a ready to eat meal station so that students with food insecurities can access food during the day. Students and their families may "shop" at the pantry weekly and this year they have averaged 60 families a week. There is food as well as personal hygiene products available. The Interact students worked with her to collect back packs so that students are able to come to the pantry and discreetly take food home for the weekend. She works tirelessly to make a difference in the students lives. Every student knows they can rely on her for honesty and help. Many come back years later to check in and let her know their lives are going. Mrs. DeSoto is one of those teachers that when asked later in life to name a teacher that made a big impact on their life, students name her!
SCHOOL: GARDINER AREA HIGH SCHOOL
GRADE LEVELS: K-12
SUBJECT: GIFTED AND TALENTED/SCIENCE/ENGINEERING/AP CAPSTONE
SCHOOL DISTRICT: RSU 11 AND MSAD 11
PRINCIPAL: CHAD KEMPTON
SUPERINTENDENT: PATRICIA HOPKINS