2021-2022 Nomination Form  


Debrah Manke

Deb Manke TOY

K Shanley TOY Photo

Cheshire Public Schools is proud to announce the selection of Deb Manke as the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year!  Deb is an Elementary teacher at Norton School and has worked in the district for over thirty years.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut, a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Connecticut State University, and possesses a sixth year Professional Certificate as a Classroom Teacher Specialist with a Focus in Elementary Mathematics.  Ms. Manke is a graduate of the Cheshire Public Schools.  She attended Chapman Elementary School, Dodd Middle School and Cheshire High School.  Her children also attended Cheshire Public Schools.  Deb began teaching in Cheshire in 1987 where she taught first and second grade.  Deb currently teaches math to sixth grade students.

At Norton, Ms. Manke served on the Principal's Advisory Committee and as advisor to the Student Council.  She also served on the District's Personalized Learning Task Force, which developed Cheshire's Vision of the Graduate.  Deb has participated in the district's Learning Walks for two years.  She committed to this process with great enthusiasm and a genuine desire to grow her own practices as well as support colleagues from around the district.  In her spare time, Deb serves on the Alumni Advisory Board at Southern Connecticut State University, a position to which she was elected.  She also volunteers with Theresa's Battleship Foundation, an organization that honors the life of Theresa Fitzpatrick, a 2012 graduate of Cheshire High School, by raising funds for clinical trials for childhood cancer research.

A Cheshire educator wrote this about Deb, "'This is amazing!' That is what I thought the first time I observed Deb Manke teaching.  I have observed thousands of lessons, but her classroom is different.  Her sixth graders are connected to math through her infectious enthusiasm, the deep and engaging questioning and personally meaningful learning."  Another wrote, "Deb works tirelessly to support each student's path to success.  She uses formative assessment to determine each student's precise understanding of the math concepts she teaches.  She structures her class to meet the varied pathways to learning so that each minute is maximized and each student works comfortably challenged in their specific zone.  Her ability to personalize learning for her math students yields incredible results both academically and social emotionally.  Deb has created a classroom environment where her students know success is afforded and that she will do whatever is necessary to see each of them succeed.  They know that she makes it her most important priority to know them as individuals, know their full potential, and motivate them to rise to it.  Deb creates classroom systems that make it possible for her most struggling students to get second and third doses of instruction and intervention with her while all other students work together collaboratively to solve problems, find solutions, check each other's understanding, and hold each other accountable for doing their best.  Her students take pride in their accomplishments and are true believers that they can do anything, evidenced by the level of success and growth each of her students attains year after year."

Deb Manke is an exceptional teacher who embodies the passion of being a lifelong learner.  Her dedication to teaching and learning is exemplified in her daily practice.  She has a growth mindset.  Even during the most challenging days of remote learning, Deb could be heard saying "it's hard, but I am learning so much that I would have never known if we didn't go remote."

Ms. Manke is a gifted educator who we are so proud of and lucky to have on our Cheshire Public Schools team.  Congratulations Deb!!!

video camera

Please click here for a video clip of Deb's acceptance speech that was delivered at this year's Convocation on August 27th, 2020.