FAIS community members who listen to K103 Portland during their morning commute heard a familiar name on Mornings with Stacey & Mike last Friday, April 30. Minda McCandless (pictured on left), Middle School Social Studies, English, and Public Speaking/Communications teacher, was announced as a winner in the station’s Most Valuable Teacher contest!
Over the course of her 23 years at FAIS, Minda has touched the lives of countless students and colleagues. She is known for the "game-ification" of her classes, which allows students to acquire and apply knowledge in a more entertaining and hands-on way. Eighth graders Amelka and Serena say, "She always makes everything fun!" and specifically mention games like Zip Zap Zop and, of course, the break-out challenges that Minda spends so much time preparing. Other notable activities include timed construction of representations of important historical eras using Legos, or making—and then consuming—cakes decorated to represent an aspect of Ancient Greece.
During distance learning, Minda chose to add to her already heavy load by collecting photos or short videos from staff members and turning them into inspiring music videos. She also spent time sending encouraging postcards home to all of her students. Now that we are back in the classroom full time, Minda continues to pay attention to her students’ non-academic needs. Students highlight Minda’s calm demeanor when managing a classroom, and also appreciate how Minda gives the class stretch breaks and chances for socializing.
If there is one word that can describe Minda, it would be caring. In addition to all that she does for her students, Minda takes the extra time to perform random (and "anonymous") acts of kindness for her colleagues and other members of her community. She never hesitates to do small things that significantly brighten people's day, whether it's leaving an encouraging note on a desk or helping out a colleague who is going through a rough time and only asking for the kindness to be paid forward. She truly models the kind of person we hope for our students to be.
Congratulations to Minda McCandless for her achievement (and thank you to her colleague, Lauren Yamasaki--pictured on right--for nominating her)! She and all of our amazing teachers make FAIS a special place.