February 15, 2012

Former Tech softball star Dallmann selected as Teacher of the Year

Dallmann set records for Golden Eagles in 2000-2003 seasons

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Winning awards became a routine part of Stephanie Dallmann’s playing career when she was setting records as an outfielder with the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle softball team.

This week, the former Tech star received an honor of a different type when she was selected as District Teacher of the Year for grades five through eight in Hamblen County, where she teaches at Manley Elementary School in Morristown, Tenn.

Three teachers in Hamblen County were surprised by the Central Office prize-patrol team amid cheers from excited students, principals, administrators and fellow teachers. The top teachers from three different grade levels received congratulations, balloons and travel mugs to celebrate their ability to educate local children. Each will now be considered for Regional Teacher of the Year.

“I was not only surprised to win the award, I was lured into a classroom and completely surprised by an entourage of Central Office staff,” Dallmann explained. “I feel very honored to receive this award, and I’m thankful every day to have the opportunity to be a teacher.”

Coming to Tech from Milwaukee, Wis., Dallmann played for Golden Eagle coach Tory Acheson from 2000 through 2003. She is currently in her fifth year teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to kindergarten through fifth grade students. In addition, she works with fifth grade classes in writing and is responsible for coordinating a school-wide writing initiative.

She said her greatest delight as a teacher is the opportunity to work with children on a day-to-day basis, and that her years as a Golden Eagle have provided a solid foundation for her teaching career.

“The main thing I learned while playing softball was the concept of teamwork,” she said. “Just as you need a cohesive team to be successful on the field, I’ve learned that you also need a team to be successful in the classroom, a team with the same goal of helping students achieve academic success, the goal of putting them on the path toward knowledge and understanding. That concept of teamwork carried over into the classroom.

“The team I work with here is an amazing team,” she said. “Moving away from my family, I’ve been fortunate to gain a second family, my ‘Manley Family’.”

After graduating in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in world cultures and business/Spanish, Dallmann worked in the Athletics Dept. at Tech as she earned her Master’s and completed teacher licensure She received her Master’s in 2007 in curriculum and instruction. In 2010, she earned her Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree from Lincoln Memorial.

“I was always impressed when we held camps and clinics with how well she connected with the kids, especially the younger kids,” Acheson said. “She was one of those people that the kids really enjoyed working with and spending time with. That was the first indication that teaching would be a good calling for her and she has lived up to those early indicators to her being successful in that area.”

Dallmann is arguably the most decorated player in the tradition-rich history of the Tech softball program, helping win OVC regular season and tournament championships in both 2001 and 2003 and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

She is one of only two players to be named first-team all-OVC four times, and is the only Golden Eagle to twice earn all-region honors. She was named the OVC Player of the Year in 2003, OVC Freshman of the Year in 2000, and four times earned OVC Player of the Week honors.

She is one of four players to be named Tech MVP twice, claiming the honor in 2001 and 2003. She was the Best Offensive Player on the squad three of her four years, and won Best Defensive Outfielder all four seasons.

She left Tech with the second-highest career batting average of .378, including a single-season record of .451 as a sophomore. She also held the Tech records for most at bats, runs scored, hits, total bases and walks. Today, nine years since she wrapped up her career, her name remains littered across the top levels of the school record book.

“Stephanie is one of the primary players who put this program on target for the success that we’ve had,” Acheson said. “She was clearly instrumental in the first couple of championships we’ve won since I’ve been here and she helped set the tone for us to have such a high level of expectation for our program.”

Dallmann has served as a supervising teacher to student interns and practicum students and she has led professional development at her school, the district and for the state. At Manley, she initiated, developed and coordinated a school writing program.

“This program provides k-5 teachers with a writing curriculum throughout the school year,” she said. “The success of the program has been expanded to other schools within the district, as well as area school districts.”

At other schools in the district, Dallmann has conducted “Connecting Plot Structure in Writing Instruction,” “Knocking the Top Off the Writing Assessment,” “ELL Rigor in the Classroom” and “Vertically Aligned Writing Instruction.”

Most recently, she led “The Reading-Writing Connection” and “Rigorous Instruction for Diverse Learners” at the East Tennessee Title I Conference, and “Trends for ESL” at Carson-Newman College.

Dallmann and the other two winners were chosen by educators from Rutherford County to compete for regional honors.

“To be recognized as building-level teacher of the year by one’s colleagues is one of the most prestigious honors one can receive,” said Dr. Dale Lynch, Hamblen County director of schools.