Dane Weaver, a grade 7-12 social studies teacher at Ten Sleep K-12 School in Washakie County School District #2, has been named Wyoming’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, during the Superintendent’s Policy Summit in Laramie Wednesday.
“Dane has a special gift for teaching and leading,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “He teaches for the future – getting students ready for what’s to come, and he knows that relationships and connecting with students are as important as teaching technical skills. Dane’s charisma is infectious – I am so excited that he will represent rural education, Wyoming, and the teaching profession as our 2020 Teacher of the Year.”
Weaver is also the assistant high school football coach, high school student council advisor, and serves on the Building Intervention Team. He has taught in Ten Sleep the past three years. Weaver is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, earning a Bachelor’s of Art degree, then earning his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
Weaver grew up in a service-based household. His mother, who was the first female agriculture teacher in Tennessee, believed in inspiring others through education.
Weaver said he believes students should not only be educated, but inspired to be life-long learners. His classroom is full of energy, with students driving the content towards a higher level of understanding. Weaver pushes students to investigate the content with a curious mind, breaking away from the drudgery of the traditional “sage of the stage” style education.
“Mr. Weaver is always willing to help a student who is struggling,” said Ten Sleep eighth-grader Kinley Anderson. “If I need any help in his class and it is a weekend or school is already out for the day, I can usually contact Mr. Weaver through Google Classroom and within a few minutes, I can have assistance with whatever I need help with. He is at school early and stays late, so students can come in at almost any time and receive help. In school, Mr. Weaver interacts with the students in an easy going way and he is always around to crack a joke or ask you how your day is going, but he still remains professional.”
“Mr. Weaver comes to work with enthusiasm and good humor every day,” said Ten Sleep science teacher Brian Titus. “His content knowledge is exceptional and his ability to connect with each student is a daily reminder to us all that we can make a significant difference through our relationships and that those relationships are the doorway to learning.”
“Let us come together and embrace change, let us revel in being different for the sake of our students,” Weaver said. He added that classrooms in Wyoming should be built to fit student needs. Classrooms need to be full of peer to peer collaboration. Classrooms should be enjoyable to our students, they should be welcoming, and built with rigor in mind. We need to be willing to change in a minute’s notice to better educate our students. Lessons that worked five years ago might be as relatable as an abacus to a kindergartner.
The Wyoming Teacher of the Year comes with the significant responsibility of representing the teaching profession in Wyoming. The Wyoming Teacher of the Year acts as liaison among the teaching community, Wyoming Legislature, Wyoming Department of Education, districts and communities. In addition, the Teacher of the Year is an education ambassador to businesses, parents, service organizations, and media, as well an education leader involved in teacher forums and education reform.
Along with the 2020 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, the Wyoming Department of Education also announced a new program called Level Up. The program will include all District Teachers of the Year and their principals, with the goal of elevating Wyoming’s education professionals by providing leadership development, continuous learning, building relationships, and increasing advocacy for the teacher profession.