2021-22 Innovator of the Year

2021-22 Innovator of the Year
Posted on 04/15/2022
2021-22 Innovator of the Year Amanda McDanielAmanda McDaniel, the mass communications, TV production, and IB film teacher at Mechanicsville High School, has been named the 2021-2022 Hanover County Public Schools 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.

McDaniel, who was surprised with the award during a faculty meeting earlier this week by Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, and other special guests, received $1,000 from the Hanover Education Foundation. She plans to use the money to expand the Mechanicsville Film Festival, a school-wide event she created earlier this year.

“It is a great honor to be named the Innovator of the Year. The past two years have changed everything, but education has had to adapt perhaps the most,” said McDaniel, who is in her second year as a teacher after previously working as a Communications Specialist for HCPS. “We continue to find new, relevant, and engaging ways to teach our students. MHS is the perfect environment for innovation and I am so very happy to be here.”

McDaniel’s innovation is exemplified through the Film Festival, a project started initially to promote her IB film class but expanded across other classes. McDaniel encouraged other teachers to incorporate filmmaking into relevant assignments and submit those videos for the Film Festival, which brought together students, their families, staff, and the community. The event was a first for Mechanicsville High School.

The event, which McDaniel plans to hold every year, centered students, who McDaniel, a Hanover County native and UCLA alumna, said are her favorite part of teaching.

“They bring me joy and inspire me every day,” she said, also crediting the administration and staff at MHS. “I am grateful for the support and encouragement to take risks. I also need to thank my students because they are the reason I am a teacher.”

Mechanicsville High School Principal Charles Stevens said McDaniel is “very passionate about film, broadcasting, and mass communications.”

“It is evident from her enthusiasm and her creativity as a teacher,” Stevens said. “She is constantly striving to enhance her practice as a teacher and the learning experiences of her students.”

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.
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