EASTCONN Adult Programs teacher Dianne Talbot has been named 2016 Educator of the Year by the Connecticut Association for Adult and Continuing Education (CAACE).
Talbot was one of three Connecticut adult education teachers to be honored by CAACE. The award is presented to educators “who have contributed above and beyond the normal expectations of an adult educator, have demonstrated consistent dedication and service to adult education students and have been involved in innovative programming,” said CAACE Conference Awards Committee Chair Maureen Wagner.
“I can’t tell you how proud we are to have Dianne on our staff,” said Rich Tariff, who directs EASTCONN’s Adult Programs division. “From the start, she has been an exemplary teacher.” Talbot, who resides in Plainfield, has worked for EASTCONN since 2015.
EASTCONN’s connection with Talbot started years earlier.
When Talbot was a senior in high school, she learned just two months before graduation that she was short one credit and wouldn’t graduate with her class. She dropped out. She soon married and started a family, but continued to regret that she hadn’t gotten her diploma. Eight years later, she decided it was time to earn her degree. She enrolled in EASTCONN’s GED classes in January 2005, and passed her GED tests seven months later.
“It was worth it for me, and more importantly, for my children to see me complete my education and to know that hard work pays off,” Talbot said.
Next, with the help of an EASTCONN Adult Programs transitions coach, Talbot discovered that she wanted to become a teacher. Over the next seven years, she earned her associate’s degree from Quinebaug Valley Community College; her bachelor’s in history from Eastern Connecticut State University; and her master’s in elementary education with a cross-endorsement for middle school social studies from Sacred Heart University.
Talbot said she has a special empathy for her adult education students.
“I understand the embarrassment of carrying around the stigma of not finishing high school,” she said. “I understand the work it takes to commit to focusing on yourself, when deep down you know that being a parent is more important. I understand that sometimes they need to realize that they are not taking away time from their children. In reality they are teaching their children many lessons. They’re not just saying that education is important; they are actually showing them. They are teaching them to persevere and never give up.”
“Dianne inspires her adult students every day, and truly understands the struggles they face as they manage the complex challenges of earning a living, raising a family and returning to school,” said EASTCONN Associate Director of Adult Program Kristin Hempel.
Learn more about teaching with EASTCONN’s Adult Programs in Danielson or Willimantic by contacting Kristin Hempel at firstname.lastname@example.org.