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Outerbridge named Teacher of the Year

Jewel among teachers: Diamond Outerbridge, the winner of the Teacher of the Year award (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A Berkeley Institute teacher was named Teacher of the Year at the weekend.Diamond Outerbridge, a finalist for the second time, told the gala ceremony: “I can’t tell you how humbling and inspiring it is to be celebrated this way.”The special education teacher added: “It’s really my belief that teaching is not just a profession — it’s a lifestyle commitment.”Ms Outerbridge said: “I once read a quote that said the best part of teaching is that it matters, and the hardest part of teaching is that it matters every day.”She was speaking at the Bermuda Education Network-organised awards, held at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.Ms Outerbridge won a $1,000 prize sponsored by Axa XL.Alandra Swan, of Francis Patton Primary School, earlier told the audience: “Whoever the winner is, you deserve this moment. Please embrace it. To every nominee, embrace it.”Ms Outerbridge, 30, won a $1,000 prize sponsored by insurance giant Axa XL.She told the gathering: “I want to dedicate this award to all nominees. Even though you’re not standing up here tonight, you really do matter.“I know you put in effort every day because you know that, to our students, it matters. Thank you so much.”Ms Swan, last year’s top teacher, earlier told the teachers in the audience: “When I say you are winners, it’s not words.“It’s not cliché. You made a conscious decision to enter a field that tells you to show up for life.”She thanked BEN and its executive director, Becky Ausenda.The 2020 teacher of the year was chosen from a shortlist of ten, selected from nearly 40 by a committee that looked at teaching expertise, leadership skills and contribution to the community.Committee member Necheeka Trott, a senior mathematics lecturer at Bermuda College, said: “As an observer, I must say we have some dynamic and fascinating people in our public education system.”Jennifer Lang, the head teacher at Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation, said the seven-member committee had worked on its list of nominees since September.The other finalists were Denise Booth from West Pembroke Primary School, Liz Braithwaite from Port Royal Primary School, Gina Cann from Paget Primary School, Hosang Clarke from CedarBridge Academy, Lugenia Payne from Southampton Preschool, Lisa Siese from Somerset Primary School, Christene Wilson James from Sandys Secondary Middle School, Ajene Webb from Dellwood Middle School and Kamilah Weeks from Dalton E Tucker Primary School.Three finalists, Ms Clarke, Ms Webb and Ms Wilson James, were announced as candidates for further education from US space agency Nasa, organised with the help of Constance Dierman, the United States Consul General.Nasa, which maintained a tracking station on the island for years and which was involved in the moon landings of the 1960s, opened a new station on Cooper’s Island in St David’s in 2018.Ms Dierman said: “We are all going to see the world from a different viewpoint, once these teachers get back.”