Diana Tyson at Lockhart Elementary is St. Thomas-St. John Teacher of the Year

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ST. THOMAS - Standing in her fourth-grade classroom, Diana Tyson has her students' undivided attention.

Every question is met with a flurry of raised hands, each child bursting with the answer.

Watching her in action, it is no surprise she was named this year's St. Thomas-St. John District Teacher of the Year.

The teachers at Lockhart Elementary School voted her Teacher of the Year for the school, then a panel of Education Department officials selected her to represent the district.

The Territorial Teacher of the Year will be announced Monday.

Tyson is a product of the territory's public school system, graduating from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. Her bachelor's and master's degrees in education are from the University of the Virgin Islands.

She began her career teaching at Moravian School for three years, but has been at Lockhart Elementary for 14 years and calls it home.

"Teaching fourth grade is the best job ever because no two days are ever alike," Tyson said. "New challenges, new excitements, new rewards."

Tyson's teaching philosophy is about leading by example.

"If we want our students to show up on time ready to learn, we need to show up on time ready to teach," Tyson said.

She said it is critical for a teacher to share his or her own love of learning with students, to inspire students in their own educational journeys.

"We also need to reflect on our teaching practices and seek out help when we need it," she said.

Tyson takes professional development seriously, but also turns to veteran teachers for ideas and solutions.

"Collaboration is a big thing, I like working with other teachers," she said.

As a fourth-grade teacher, Tyson teaches all subjects, but math is her personal favorite.

To instill a love of reading, she lets her students read about what they love.

"I have a set of books I lay out for them, and they pick based upon their interest, so they read for enjoyment," she said.

"If they finish early with something, they can pull out their book and read."

Instead, Tyson uses a Promethean board, an interactive whiteboard that she controls with a tablet and a laptop computer. She said technology in the classroom is a necessary tool to help her teach and keep her students focused on the lesson.

Tyson will go up against the St. Croix District Teacher of the Year to vie for the title of Territorial Teacher of the Year.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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