Swenson Award 2005
Frankie Dunleavy Yeaton, Middlebury Union High School
Former Board Chair Bill Dakin, Frankie Dunleavy Yeaton, Victor Swenson, and VHC Executive Peter Gilbert
A Middlebury Union High School teacher who has inspired students for 25 years has been named Vermont's humanities educator of the year for 2005. The Vermont Humanities Council has chosen Margaret “Frankie” Dunleavy Yeaton, a teacher of foreign languages, to receive its annual Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award. The award is the third given out by VHC since inaugurating the award in 2003.
“Frankie . . . is the model of a great secondary school teacher," says Middlebury College Professor John McWilliams. “She is a high-energy presence in the classroom who demands, and receives, great effort and great achievement from her students. . . . She is a splendid, lively, engaged, and fully committed teacher.”
Vermont Humanities Council Chair Bill Dakin presented the award at VHC's fall conference, Creativity and Madness: Romantic Notion and Reality, November 12 at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa in Stowe. The ceremony included a presentation of a $1,000 check to Dunleavy Yeaton.
VHC created the award to recognize a Vermont educator on an annual basis and to honor Victor R. Swenson, the Council’s first executive director. The award is given to a Vermont educator in grades 6 through 12 who exemplifies excellence in the teaching of the humanities.
Dunleavy Yeaton has taught French, Latin, and Spanish at Middlebury Union High School since 1980. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of London in 1975 and has attended Middlebury College's Spanish and Italian language schools. A multiple honoree in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers," she has also been a board member of the Vermont Foreign Language Association and helps organize and chaperone Middlebury High School trips to Europe and Costa Rica.
Dunleavy Yeaton has, like many great teachers, inspired students outside the classroom as well. "Teaching for Ms. Dunleavy Yeaton is much more than a job. It is a vocation that she lives in all her dealings with students," notes her friend and neighbor Margaret Clerkin. That dedication manifests itself in chaperoning the prom, attending the concert of a student who has started a rock band and needs an audience, mentoring a Middlebury College student interested in teaching, or attending numerous parent-teacher-guidance meetings, often all in the same week.
But perhaps the highest praise is reflected in how students taught by Dunleavy Yeaton learn how to love learning. Margaret Clerkin sees this in her own two daughters. "They have come to expect to be challenged academically . . . to relate their work to other academic subjects and current affairs, and above all, to take personal responsibility for what they learn. My oldest daughter was so affected by her example that she has decided to become a high school teacher herself."
Nominations for the Swenson Humanities Educator Award are due June 15.
Learn more about the Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award.