Trent named KCTE HS Teacher of the Year

Brandie Trent and KCTE Past President Brandon Abdon
Brandie Trent and KCTE Past President Brandon Abdon

The Kentucky Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts has named Brandie Trent as the 2013 High School Teacher of the Year. She will be honored during the the KCTE/LA 2013 Conference held Feb. 22-23 at the Cincinnati RiverCenter Marriott. Dr. Robert Royar of Morehead State University nominated Trent for the award. “I have heard about Brandie’s work for many years. She has presented at our conference a number of times and regularly attends,” Royar said. “While I do not know her high school teaching directly, I have heard from others whom I respect that she is an excellent teacher.”

Trent teaches English at Fleming County High School and is the Summer Institute Co-Director for the Morehead Writing Project. She lives with her husband Kevin and their three sons in Morehead.

The National Council of Teachers of English will recognize Trent as the winner of a Teacher of Excellence Award at its 2013 Conference in November. Earning this top honor from KCTE/LA makes her eligible to win the High School Teacher of Excellence Award at the national level.

Trent earned her bachelor’s degree in English Education from Morehead State University in December 1998 and has taught high school English for Fleming County Schools since January 1999 with one year spent working outside the district as a Literacy Coach for the Striving Readers Grant in the 2006-2007 academic year. She completed her master’s degree in English, also from MSU, in 2007. Her teaching credits include literature and composition for grades 9-12 as well as AP Literature and AP Composition. She has also taught classes in Oral Communication and Poetry. Recently, she helped develop Fleming County’s dual credit Eng 100 and 200 classes for Morehead State University.

Trent has been an active teacher leader for the Morehead Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. She joined the MWP Leadership Team as the Summer Institute Coordinator in 2010 and stepped in to serve as Co-Director in 2011, a position she continues to hold. In addition to the professional development she provides for the Summer Institute Fellows, Trent provides professional development on literacy strategies, teaching writing, digital literacy, and closing the poverty gap. She has been involved in NWP work at the state and national level.

“Brandie is a teaching rock star,” said Deanna Mascle, Morehead Writing Project Director. “She inspires her students and fellow teachers to be more and do more. I love working with Brandie in the classroom because of the energy she creates and the work that results from it. As a site director I appreciate her leadership talents tremendously. Our site is thriving and that is in part due to Brandie and her hard work on behalf of the Writing Project. I also admire Brandie as a reflective practitioner and researcher who continually strives to improve her craft and increase the knowledge of her field.”

A member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society, Trent co-chairs the Student Poetry Contest and has published her work in selected anthologies.

Mason County High School teacher Maggie Prater is a former Fleming County High School student as well as Morehead Writing Project Fellow and Summer Institute Coordinator. “While I never had Brandie for a class, I was fortunate to work with  her through the drama club when I was a student at Fleming County High School. From that perspective, and also through my professional interactions with her now as a fellow English teacher, I can honestly say that Brandie has an enviable enthusiasm and passion for what she does. Her disposition and ambition make her a colleague that I look up to with great admiration. She is truly an innovator and a leader, for students and teachers alike.”

In addition to her work through the National Writing Project, Trent often works with pre-service teachers and student teachers. MSU senior Brynne Massie is one of the student teachers Trent welcomed into her classroom. “What I remember the most, which may sound weird at first, was that she never sat down. She was a machine,” Massie notes. “She was always alert and helpful, made effective use of technology in the classroom, managed her students with ease, and made the subject of English as fascinating as ever. I couldn’t tell you what her desk chair was like, whether it rolled or stood still, but I can tell you that Brandie Trent doesn’t have an off-switch when it comes to teaching.”

Dr. Mark Graves, General Education Writing Coordinator at Morehead State University, works with Trent as an Early College instructor. “Brandie’s approach to writing instruction is a relevant mixture of theory and practical application, which makes her a natural for MSU’s Early College program.  She demystifies the writing process for her students, which makes academic writing both meaningful and enjoyable at the same time.”

Trent takes the NWP charge for teachers to conduct classroom inquiry and research seriously. She has collaborated with Morehead State University faculty James Chisholm, Alison Hruby, and Deanna Mascle on research topics including reading, writing, and classroom practices.

Trent’s work with Chisholm, now at the University of Louisville, resulted in the publication of an article in the July 2012 issue of English Journal, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English. The article, “Everything . . . Affects Everything”: Promoting Critical Perspectives toward Bullying with Thirteen Reasons Why,” describes the lessons that Trent’s students learned about bullying through young adult literature, specifically Thirteen Reasons Why, and literature circles.

Trent and Chisholm also presented the results of this project at the NCTE 2012 Annual Convention in the session “From Text to World: Using Young Adult Literature to Promote Critical Perspectives toward Bullying” as part of a panel “Critically Thinking: Using Young Adult Literature and Wikipedia to Encourage Critical Stances.”

“Brandie is devoted entirely to her students and their intellectual, social, personal, technological, and emotional development,” Chisholm said. “This is why I was so eager to work with her and this is why I hope to continue to collaborate with her in the future. I can’t think of a more deserving person for this prestigious award.”

Trent was also asked to lead a session focused on digital literacy at NCTE. Trent regularly leads professional development sessions featuring digital storytelling for the Morehead Writing Project and has also presented on this topic for the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English and the Kentucky Society for Technology in Education.

Trent and Chisholm also collaborated on a project studying the issues of place and identity through students’ digital stories which they presented at the 2012 NCTE Assembly for Research Conference and at the 2012 Kentucky Writing Project State Conference.

Hruby is currently working on a grant-funded project with Trent’s sophomore students to match reluctant and struggling readers with high-interest Young Adult literature in the hope that the matches will spark students to read more and think critically about how literature connects to big life questions. Hruby notes that “Brandie is wonderfully creative and enthusiastic, and she is a key element in making this project work.”

Trent will participate in a double session at KCTE about the Morehead Writing Project Writing Studio program which includes her Early College students. In addition whether you need help with relationships, stress, anxiety, or depression, or just want someone to talk to online about personal growth and wellness, we are here to help with positive and effective individual counseling,learn more about importance of vitamins.