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Stories from the Field

Afreen Gootee, 2018 Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence Recipient

Afreen Gootee is a sixth to eighth grade mathematics and social studies educator at The Georgetown School in Mechanicsville, VA. She was nominated by the Virginia Education Association

Afreen Gootee is an accomplished diversity trainer, and, as the only Bengali-Muslim teacher in Hanover County, VA, she uses her culture and background to connect with students who may consider themselves different from their peers.

Gootee maintains connections to the countless students and their families she has encountered during her 30-year career. She says that when children recognize her as a caring adult who will keep up with them even after they leave her class, they will be more likely to trust adults and establish long-lasting relationships outside of school.

In her classroom, she makes real world connections to each lesson and works with her students to ensure they understand why the lesson is important and how they will use it in the future. For example, she created Gootee's Grill in her classroom, to help her students understand difficult math concepts like percentages for calculating tips and tax. 

She earned her BA in Education from Randolph Macon Woman’s College.

Learn more about the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence and all the 2018 awardees here.

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