Teachers of the Year

Every year, in collaboration with the Kalmanovitz School of Education, the Center for Environmental Literacy chooses a stellar educator as the KSOE Teacher of the Year

See our past Teachers of the Year by clicking on the links on the left-hand sidebar.

Do you know an educator that exhibits creativity, care, and compassion for his or her students and the earth, and who reguralry utilizes River of Words' curriculum to develop a sense of responsibility for the planet and a connection to the planet within his or her students? If so, please e-mail nominations to Laurie Aguirre, at laa1@stmarys-ca.edu.





2013 River of Words Anacostia Watershed Prizewinner, Olivia Henshaw-Black, with her former teacher, the "Gypsy Gardener"

The Gypsy Gardener

I once knew a gypsy gardener

Who wore cool boots.

A nurturer of all life:

Plants, animals and students


I wandered into her garden

And found her planting seeds,

Peace, focus and compassion,

To name a few.

Her sprouts grew on a diet of

Organic brainstorming, practice, and all-natural meditation.

She shined on them,

Giving light and 



When the seedlings were strong,

Off went the gypsy gardener

To find another sunny spot

To sow her seeds

And hike the hills

In her cool boots.


Olivia Henshaw-Black,  age 12



Port Republic, Maryland 


Friends Community School 


Teacher: Anne Atwell-McLeod* 


* Olivia's teacher when she wrote the poem, Anne Atwell McLeod, was a Grand Prize winner in the first ever River of Words Contest in 1996. Her mother, Nancie Atwell, was named River of Words Teacher of the Year in 2010. This year, four of Nancie's Center for Teaching and Learning students were selected as finalists in the contest. Anne is the first ROW winner who has grown up to guide her students to ROW poetry contest success, the next generation, so to speak. And- to our knowledge- this is the first time that two generations of teachers, a mother and daughter in this case, have had students win the contest in the same year (2013). Congratulations to all! *