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Carlynton teacher earns national honor

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A Carlynton Junior-Senior High School teacher has been named to a nationwide list of the top 40 influential teachers under 40.

Tracy Post, a Carlynton social studies teacher, was named to the Veritas Prep “40 Under 40” list last week.

Post said it was a shock just to be nominated.

“I don't think I do anything different than anyone else here,” said Post, 37, of Crafton. “It's humbling to know that I made an impression so much on a student.”

Veritas Prep, an SAT preparation provider, solicited hundreds of nominations from students across the country for teachers they thought were passionate and innovative. Post was one of two teachers from the Pittsburgh area to make the final list of 40.

Carlynton senior Shakaila Haley nominated Post.

“I nominated her because she understands teenagers and their mindset, and she'll adapt her teaching to help everyone better understand,” Haley said.

Post said she tries to work with what the kids know in their own lives.

“I really try to stay on top of what kids are incorporating into their own lives, like technology,” she said.

Her lesson that day utilized an iPad tablet — allowing students to project their political cartoons onto the screen. She said allowing students to take ownership of their work helps encourage them.

“When they can stand up there and say, ‘This is my work,' it means a lot for them,” she said.

Originally a business student, Post said she was inspired to go back to school for teaching after spending several summers as a counselor at an all-girls summer camp in Maine.

“Someone told me, ‘You're really easy to talk to. You should be a teacher,' and I thought, ‘Maybe I should,'” she said.

In addition to teaching, she assists with the district's Backpacks for Kids program and has helped facilitate healthy relationship classes. She also is member of Crafton Borough Council.

So while still working in business, Post attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh part time and earned a bachelor's degree in social sciences in secondary education. She also completed her master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

Post teaches four subjects this year: economics, history, criminal justice and sociology. She said her favorite classroom lessons also include life lessons. “We assume so many things about students — that they're so up on technology and things — but can that do basic things? Do they know how to put together a basic budget?” she said.

She said the best part of teaching so many different courses is that she gets to know students.

“You have kids two or three times, and you get to know the kids,” she said. “You get to know how to get them to challenge themselves but respect their preferences.”

Haley said Post works to encourage students on a personal level.

“If she knows you have a goal, she'll do everything possible to push you toward it,” she said.

Post said it is the nature of teaching.

“I'm just doing what everyone else is doing. We look out for everybody,” she said. “We protect those that need protecting and speak up for those who need spoken up for.”

She said she hopes her students can leave feeling confident and able to make good choices.

“Choices have consequences, and I try to show them that they have to personally take responsibility for those consequences,” she said. “I want them to be strong enough to choose what is right.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810.

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