Ms. Hollie Davidson — Western Union Elementary — 2020 Teacher of the Year — Carolinas

Out Teach is pleased to honor Mrs. Hollie Davidson as the Teacher of the Year for our Carolinas Region!  Mrs. Davidson has worked closely with our instructional coach Allie this year to regularly utilize the tremendous outdoor classroom resources on her campus as a vehicle for experiential learning.  She loves the outdoors and teaching, and regularly combines those passions to her students’ benefit!

As a Kindergarten teacher at Western Union Elementary in Waxhaw, NC (Union County) Mrs. Davidson gets her students started exploring and learning in the outdoors from the very beginning of their school careers!  Having formerly been a Special Education teacher, she knows how to connect with all of her students, regardless of their needs or circumstances.  Studies show that outdoor experiential learning is beneficial and accessible to all students, regardless of their background, so getting her students accustomed to learning in the Outdoor Classroom from their very first year in school lays the groundwork for critical thinking and problem solving skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

Mrs. Davidson is in her 7th year of teaching, after graduating from UNC-Charlotte and then pursuing her Elementary Education degree.  Having taught Kindergarten for the last four years, she has instilled her love of learning outdoors to students spanning more than half of the grades represented at Western Union.  Not only does she incorporate experiential learning into her lessons during the school day, but she also leads the school’s Garden Club and works tirelessly in the outdoor classroom and school garden to ensure it is always available as a teaching resource to her colleagues.  In the midst of these unexpected school closures due to COVID-19, Mrs. Davidson has spearheaded efforts and volunteers to ensure the garden is maintained and ready for students and teachers to use right away once they are clear to return to campus.  She’s even planting things at her own home to get started for the school garden and transplant them there soon!

After working with Mrs. Davidson this year, Out Teach Instructional Coach Allie Graybeal said “Mrs. Davidson has spearheaded the effort to get an outdoor classroom space for the school from the very beginning, and now that they have it, she is the perfect leader, caretaker, and advocate for it.”  Principal Kristi Williford adds “Mrs. Davidson is the perfect recipient of this award as she is the ideal example of a teacher who takes advantage of the learning environments around her and brings excitement to her students, encouraging them to think outside the box, even while they are digging in the box!”

Please join Out Teach in celebrating Mrs. Davidson for the incredible work she does leading her students in experiential learning!

 

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Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.