2022-23 Innovator of the Year

John M. Gandy Elementary School Teacher Named Innovator of the Year
Posted on 05/17/2023
Megan StandlickMegan Standlick, the music teacher at John M. Gandy Elementary School (JGES), has been named the 2022-23 Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS) Innovator of the Year. The award seeks to encourage and empower teachers to transform learning by continuously challenging, inspiring, and engaging students using new and relevant ideas.

Mrs. Standlick, who was surprised with the award during a joint faculty meeting with staff at nearby Henry Clay Elementary School by Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, and other special guests, received $2,000 from the Hanover Education Foundation as part of the recognition.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition among all of the amazing educators in Hanover County. I define ‘innovation’ as enthusiastically and optimistically seeking out new approaches to achieve a goal,” said Mrs. Standlick, who is in her ninth year of teaching, all at JGES. “This spirit of innovation is celebrated and cultivated at Gandy in both staff and students. I am grateful for this opportunity to highlight the contagious culture of innovation at our school.”

Mrs. Standlick’s innovation is exemplified through Team Time, an initiative created by the resource team at JGES, including Mrs. Standlick, to help students strengthen relationships, develop their T-I-G-E-R (trustworthy, innovative, grateful, empathetic, and respectful) values, and practice their soft skills. Fourth grade students at the school this spring also performed an original musical called “Five Houses, One Family” that Standlick wrote and directed. The musical is based on the fables and countries of origin of the school’s five houses, a system that launched in the 2019-20 school year that develops community at the school, builds relationships across grade levels, and helps to instill important character traits such as empathy, gratitude, and trustworthiness. Students contributed to the performance through drumming, narrating, playing recorders and xylophones, singing, and dancing.

“The greatest lesson I hope to teach my students through their involvement in musical performances is that their contributions as individuals are an essential part of the whole,” said Mrs. Standlick, who graduated from Atlee High School in HCPS as well as Virginia Commonwealth University. “As a music educator, I have the opportunity to teach every student in our school for up to three years. The relationships I build with my students, colleagues, families, and community are the best part of my job.”

Mrs. Standlick helps to lead the House System at the school, which has since expanded to several elementary schools across HCPS.

“I can say with confidence that my involvement in building the House System at Gandy will be one of the greatest honors of my career. To witness the growth of our houses from an idea to an immersive school culture has been incredible,” she said. “Our House System is transformational and makes Gandy a very magical place to be. All of this would never be possible without our supportive administrators, collaborative staff, and hardworking students.”

JGES Principal Leigh Finch said Mrs. Standlick is a “talented educator who has an unwavering belief in our students.”

“Knowing that our students can do anything, she develops innovative music lessons that allow students to create and experience music in many different ways. Additionally, she brings her belief and skills to the entire school as she leads our House System,” Mrs. Finch said. “A recent example of Ms. Standlick’s AMAZING talents is the fourth grade musical she wrote and directed using our House fables. We have drumming for assemblies, chants, dances, and call-backs that have defined our school culture. We are so grateful for Mrs. Standlick. She is the musical heart of our school.”

Each year, HCPS selects one educator for this distinguished award to serve as a role model and ambassador for innovation throughout the division to foster higher student growth and achievement.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.