Language arts teacher becomes Rockwood’s High School Teacher Of The Year


As Rockwood photographers and visitors take a picture, language arts teacher David Choate’s 1st Hour AP Literature class points at him. Choate was honored with Rockwood’s High School Teacher of the Year on April 12.

Juli Mejia, Editor In Chief

Only two months ago on Feb. 6, the 2023 Teacher of the Year was named at Lafayette High School. After nine years of being a finalist, David Choate, language arts teacher, was awarded the title. Choate has been an active teacher on campus as the Student Council sponsor and as assistant coach for the Speech and Debate team.

“I’m grateful the staff chose me, it’s a very nice honor. I’m grateful of Mr. Jaycox for taking the time to write a speech but also grateful for all the students that have pulled and said this is going to be your year and the students that have nominated me over the years,” Choate said.

But to his surprise, Rockwood faculty, administrators, family and friends walked into the classroom on April 12 to award him the Rockwood High School Teacher of the Year, one of the highest honors for teachers in the district.

Superintendent Curtis Cain said the award is a celebration and acknowledgment of impactful educators.

“It is recognition of the countless hours that teachers are pouring in to support students, to nurture, to challenge [their students],” Cain said.

Choate said he was honored and humbled that the district chose him.

“There are so many great teachers in this district, just to be considered one of them is an honor in itself,” Choate said.

As they had surprised him during his 1st Hour AP Literature and Composition class, Rockwood videographer wanted to get some video of him with his students. The students began chanting ‘Choate’ and making funny gestures with him. Cain was amused by the reactions.

“Watching that interaction with students, It’s very clear how much he means to them. Students across this building have been [coming] out of their classrooms to come celebrate him,” Cain said. “There are tough parts to this job, but to be here and to watch a celebration of teaching and what our teachers do and how it’s valued not only by staff but most importantly by students, I’ll tell you its one of the better parts of the job.”

As a previous student, STUCO member and cadet for Choate’s class for two semesters, senior Reagan Roeder said Choate finds a way to engage every student instead of just lecturing.

“He is unlike any teacher I’ve had before. He finds a way to connect with every student and I think as a teacher that can be really difficult to do. And he does it and I think that’s a huge accomplishment and he deserves to be recognized for that and for being able to reach every student,” Roeder said.

There was also a Middle School Teacher of the Year awarded to speech and theater teacher Laura Fontana from Crestview Middle and an Elementary Teacher of the Year awarded to 1st Grade teacher Danielle Toro from Pond Elementary. Choate, Fontana and Toro will all be invited to attend the May 7 Rose Award Ceremony, where the Rockwood Teacher of the Year award will be announced.