UNH Manchester alumna Danielle Boutin '08, '09G, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher at Nashua's Ledge Street Elementary School, has been named 2021 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year. The Department of Education honored this year’s finalists at a ceremony on the State House lawn in Concord.
An 11-year veteran ELL teacher, Boutin works with multilingual students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Her curiosity and love of language and culture makes working with multicultural students the best job for her, she says. She describes her students as creative and open-minded and appreciates her students’ eagerness to learn.
Boutin grew up in New Hampshire, receiving dual B.A. degrees in English and humanities, M.Ed. in secondary education and a certification in English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from the University of New Hampshire's Manchester campus.
Boutin describes her job as looking a little different each day, and she loves not knowing exactly what to expect. When working with students of various cultures and linguistic backgrounds, each day is filled with teachable moments. In addition to teaching, connecting and advocating for families is a large part of her love for the job, Boutin says. Over the past decade, she has worked to build a strong community support network which she can lean on to help families with a variety of issues including food and housing insecurity, domestic violence and trauma.
Boutin also works hard to collaborate and advocate for the needs of her students at the school, district and state level. She has been an active member of numerous state ELL advisory committees and often works to help bring attention to the needs of her students and her families.
“This has been one heck of a year in education. Teachers around the country are doing their best to learn a new environment and it has been very challenging,” Boutin said. “All of the parents out there are also Teachers of the Year as they teach their kids from home. It takes a lot of people to help students succeed.”
Claudia Tobon, vice president of Geskus Studios and Yearbook Publishing and sponsor of the N.H. Teacher of the Year Program, commended Boutin for her work.
“Ms. Boutin’s exceptional contributions to her students and community were unparalleled," Tobon said. "While all the candidates are doing extraordinary work in New Hampshire, Ms. Boutin’s comprehensive approach to connecting students, teachers and the community are what will make the difference for many future generations.”
The N.H. Teacher of the Year Program honors a teacher who is capable of speaking for and energizing the teaching profession and representing the positive contributions of all teachers statewide. Kimberly Piper, 2020 N.H. Teacher of the Year, said Boutin does just that.
“Danielle exemplifies the outstanding commitment of New Hampshire teachers to not only high academic expectations, but recognizing the humanity of all students and their families," Piper said. "She’s leading the way on removing barriers and ensuring all students receive the education they deserve.”
Boutin will represent New Hampshire in the National Teacher of the Year Program run by the Council of Chief State School Officers.