As the student services manager at Flagler Technical College, FTC Teacher of the Year Lynn Taillon's impact isn't made through classroom lectures, which she rarely gives, but though community outreach and one-on-one counseling of students who are approaching milestones in their life — going back to school to get a GED they didn't earn as a youth, choosing or changing a career, or deciding to invest in new skills to advance the work they're already doing.
"Lynn is an active listener and follows up. She is dedicated to ensuring no student 'falls through the cracks.' She is always there to help others reach their dreams."
— RENEE STAUFFACHER, director, Flagler Technical College
"If I help a student become excited and peaceful with their next course of action, then I have been successful in my job and have assisted in advancing that student's learning process," Taillon wrote in her Teacher of the Year application statement.
Taillon, who holds a bachelor's in education for Emory University and a master's in adult education from the University of Phoenix, began her career as a technical curriculum development instructor at Gwinnett College of Business in Georgia and served in a variety of adult instructional roles in that state before moving to Florida in 2019 beginning her work at FTC.
Her tech skills quickly came in handy: When classes went online for COVID-19, Taillon created a training manual for students and teachers for the college's NewRow virtual learning platform, writing it within a week and then conducting a teacher training session and serving as the college's point person for technical troubleshooting.
She developed a learning management system for the college's electrical apprentice program, and co-taught it for the first few weeks with the instructor to help smooth the transition, wrote Bryan Grody, FTC's former career and technical education coordinator, in a letter of reference for Taillon.
"These efforts resulted in a continued learning environment that continues to contribute to Flagler County Schools and Flagler Technical College success to this day," he wrote.
And when Taillon learned that the college was looking for ways to deliver instruction to Health Science program students who would ordinarily do hospital rotations but could not because of the pandemic, she helped develop a new program for the class and co-taught it alongside the teacher and the college's new Health Science program facilitator.
"What others considered an obstacle and disappointment, Lynn showed us how to embrace," FTC Health Science Program Facilitator Dawn Lord wrote in a letter of reference for Taillon's Teacher of the Year application.
"Living in multiple states throughout my childhood created challenges in my academic career," Taillon wrote in her Teacher of the Year application statement. "Regardless of whether I was ahead of or behind my classmates in the curriculum, there was always that one teacher who encouraged me to do my best and learn from my new challenges. ... To this day, I am inspired by this process. Watching an adult student decide to change careers or simply advance their skills to help better themselves; watching a high school student realize there is a path to their dream career; helping a student gain confidence in a subject they do not believe they are capable of mastering; these are the opportunities and experiences that inspire me as an educator every day."