Horne named Burrillville school district’s Teacher of the Year

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BURRILLVILLE – A mathematics teacher at Burrillville High School who was named the Rhode Island Mathematics Teachers Association’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2023 has also been named the Burrillville School Department’s Outstanding District Teacher of the Year.

Nicholas Horne received the honor, awarded annually to one educator in the public school district.

Horne, who holds master’s degrees in both mathematics and American history from Providence College and an educational specialist degree from Worcester State University, has been teaching at the high school for 23 years. He is also an adjunct professor at the Community College of Rhode Island and a rater for the Education Testing Service.

The educator is a member of the Rhode Island Mathematics Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and serves as advisor for the school’s division of the National Honor Society and the Math League.

“Throughout his career, Mr. Horne has proven to be dedicated, knowledgeable, and committed to his craft,” said Supt. Michael Sollitto in announcing the award. “He continues to build and maintain positive relationships with students and staff and creates an atmosphere of mutual respect in his classroom.”

In 2003, Horne was named RadioShack National Beginning Teacher of the Year, and in 2017 he was the recipient of the Worcester State University Graduate Medallion, awarded to students with the highest grade point average in each discipline.

Horne was named Teacher of the Year for Burrillville High School in April, just as RIMTA also recognized his work. It was the second time the teacher was honored at the school-wide level, making him eligible for the larger, district-wide honor. Horne was also named BHS teacher of the year in 2020.

Others recognized at Burrillville schools in 2023 include middle school social studies teacher Shane Durand; Steere Farm Elementary third grade teacher Jennifer Goodnow; Callahan Elementary fourth grade teacher Micaela LaChapelle; and Levy Elementary first grade teacher Joan Surprenant.

Horne, who was once a student at Burrillville High School, said it was his own teachers who inspired him to pursue a career in education.

“Many of those same teachers were invaluable resources to me as I began my career as an educator, as they conveyed to me many of the nuances that go into effective teaching,” Horne said. “I have come to realize that with experience comes the responsibility to pass on your knowledge and skills to others who are starting out in the field.” 

The teacher said that in the classroom, he tries try to create an environment which is both challenging and supportive, “providing students who were not always successful at mathematics the opportunity to realize their strengths and abilities while accelerating and encouraging those who are confident in their mathematical prowess.”

“In the process, students develop their abilities to think critically, solve problems using a variety of techniques, and justify these solutions in a group setting,” Horne said. “I hope to also foster an appreciation of mathematics, both in terms of restoring student confidence and understanding its use and utility in real world situations. Many students have gone on to careers in engineering, architecture, scientific research, mathematics education, and business, to name a few, due, in part, to their interest and proficiency in mathematics.” 

All of the district’s teachers of the year are scheduled to be formally recognized at the Burrillville School Committee meeting this September.

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